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A police robot is now patrolling Nanjing Dong Lu

Equipped with six cameras, it transmits live footage to the police

Photograph: Franck V via Unsplash
Call it mechanisation aiming to assist the police or an Orwellian nightmare that takes spying on citizens to the next level – a police bot has started roaming Nanjing Dong Lu.

‘I am a robot from Nanjing Dong Lu Police Station. I am on a patrolling mission today,’ broadcasts the Wall-E-looking robot as it rolls. According to SHINE, the robo-cop is equipped with four wide-angle HD cameras, one infrared thermal imaging camera and one camera with changeable focal length, which has 360-degree vision that transmits footage to police in real time. In addition to surveillance, the robot also broadcasts safety tips to pedestrians, advising them to take care of their valuables, look out for elderly family members and kids and be wary of scammers and scalpers.

Police from the Nanjing Dong Lu office told Shanghai Observer that the robot can patrol the area 24/7, which ‘makes up for human deficiencies’. They also plan to incorporate 5G technology that will eventually enable citizens to interact with the robot.

China has been testing robot police for a few years now. In 2017, China's first police bot that could scan faces, answer travellers’ questions and detect fire hazards appeared in Zhengzhou East Station in Henan Province. Beijing also tested a few police robots near Xidan commercial area earlier this year.

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