As days pass by with the issues of the Coronavirus pandemic still a serious threat, social distancing is still an obligation which everyone must follow in order to further curb off the spread of the COVID-19 disease but then there is need for essential things such as food which is one thing important during this trying time but with numerous companies shutting their factories in order to protect their workers from contracting the virus governments, hospitals and other sectors have been learning a newer way of using robots to do things such as cleaning of surfaces or delivering of goods.
Singapore, one of the high-tech country in the world is one of those which is deploying robots as the municipal authorities are now turning to Boston Dynamics four legged Spot robot to constantly remind park goers to keep a safe distance from one another.
Starting from today, Spot unit will begin patrolling the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park which is based on a two weeks trial whereby the robot will be making a prerecorded broadcast message which goes as “to remind park visitors to observe safe distancing measures.”
There has been concerns over privacy and identity but the government of the nation-state had made it clear the robot won’t be used to identify anyone. The robot is fitted with cameras which will be used to estimate the number of visitors to the park. The robot is also going to be remotely controlled even though it has in-built sensors which helps it to avoid collisions and it will still have a guide accompanying it and if the trial becomes successful, NParks, the Singapore’s National Parks Board said the robot could be deployed full-time during peak hours in the park.
With this, there will be limited need for human patrol staffs as the robot will help in conducting the monitoring says NParks as it’s said to further lower the risk to the exposures of the coronavirus. According to local newspaper The Straits Times, the board is also considering deploying the robot elsewhere in the city. Signs posted in the park ask visitors not to “disrupt” the robot on its patrols.
But the test/deployment in Singapore won’t be the first we’ve seen as other big countries like the US and China had used Drones which were deployed to warn or cajole or even coerce people and there are security guard robots from US firm Knightscope which had given software update that allows them to broadcast public safety messages to people. The messages ranges from “Please maintain a safe distance between you and other people” to “Washing our hands is fun! Oh, wait… I don’t have any hands.”
With the status of the pandemic which had led to people been forced to stay at the comfort of their homes, robot makers have taken this opportunity to deploy their creations as the pandemic could further change everything we know about robots forever. Spot the robot from Boston Dynamics is in fact under trials at hospitals which is meant to help with the treatment of the Coronavirus.