Robot that can detect bad behaviour on trial at Toa Payoh Central

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
The Xavier ground robot on patrol at Toa Payoh Central. (PHOTOS: HTX)
The Xavier ground robot on patrol at Toa Payoh Central. (PHOTOS: HTX)

SINGAPORE — For three weeks from Sunday (5 September), a Singapore-designed ground patrol robot will be put on trial at Toa Payoh Central to detect "undesirable social behaviour".

Named Xavier, it will be deployed at public areas with high foot traffic to "augment the work of public officers in enhancing public health and safety", said the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), National Environment Agency (NEA), Land Transport Authority (LTA), Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and Housing & Development Board (HDB) in a joint news release.

Designed by HTX in partnership with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), Xavier will weave its way through crowds to detect the following activities:

  • smoking in prohibited areas

  • illegal hawking

  • improperly parked bicycles within HDB Hub

  • congregation of more than five people (in line with prevailing Safe Management Measures)

  • motorised active mobility devices and motorcycles on footpaths

Upon detecting such activities, Xavier will send real-time alerts to its command and control centre, while also displaying the appropriate messages to deter members of the public from such behaviour. The aim of deploying Xavier is to reduce the manpower needed for foot patrols and to improve efficiency, said the release.

Fitted with different types of sensors as well as safety features, Xavier is capable of autonomous navigation and can avoid both stationary as well as dynamic obstacles such as pedestrians or vehicles. It is also equipped with cameras that can provide its controllers with a 360-degree view of the the robot's location and can capture images and videos in dim light as well as in the dark.

"Data captured from Xavier’s cameras are streamed to a video analytics system with artificial intelligence capability developed by HTX’s in-house computer vision engineers. With real-time sensing and analysis, public officers can gain insights on the these behaviours more efficiently and effectively, and activate additional resources to respond to on-ground situations when necessary," said the release.

An interactive dashboard aboard the robot also allows public officers at the control centre to receive real-time information and to respond to incidents on the ground via a two-way intercom system or using pre-recorded audio messages.

Xavier shares similarities with HTX's Multipurpose All-Terrain Autonomous Robot (Matar) that was deployed by the Singapore Police Force to support its frontline operations during National Day parades, the Marina Bay Countdown and Chingay.

"“HTX’s ground robots are highly versatile and can be customised for broad and widespread application in different fields and operational environments. With Xavier, we are able to force multiply agencies beyond the Home Team by augmenting their workforce needs and achieve greater operational efficiency on a single robotic platform," said Cheng Wee Kiang, the director of HTX's Robotics, Automation and Unmanned systems Centre of Expertise.

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