Imagine walking through a park and having a robot tell you that you are not keeping the necessary distance. It happens in Singapore.

A few minutes ago it has been announced, as if from a strange lottery, which areas of Spain can go to Phase 1 of the Descaling and which cannot. It is hard to believe that we are living the reality that we are, but we are doing it. Technology has been, is and will be one of the main props in the war against Coronavirus, and in Singapore they are going to take advantage of the possibilities that Robotics offers them just like China does.

Robots in Singapore
We already know SPOT, one of the ‘creatures’ of the robotic company Boston Dynamics. Spot, designed and animated like a dog, surprises with the fluidity of its movements and its ‘smart’ capabilities such as environment analysis. Well Spot has been precisely chosen by the National Parks Board (NParks) and the Group of Smart Nation and Digital Government of Singapore, which is conducting a pilot test with SPOT to “help the safe distancing efforts in the parks , gardens and nature reserves managed by NParks ”, including Park Connectors, Pulau Ubin, as well as parks managed by city councils.

Practically like in the ‘Metalhead’ chapter of Black Mirror season 4, imagine that you are walking in the park with someone tomorrow, or you meet a friend, and a 4-legged robot comes to tell you that you are not respecting the minimum distance of security between people. This is what has been happening for 2 weeks from today on a 3 km stretch in the section of the river plains of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Several Spot units will patrol the area and issue a recorded message to remind park visitors to observe safe distancing measures.

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SPOT is also equipped with video analytics enabled cameras developed by GovTech to calculate the number of visitors to the parks. Of course, the authorities wanted to make it clear that “these cameras will not be able to track and / or recognize specific individuals, and no personal data will be collected.”

Remotely controlled
SPOT will be remotely controlled, reducing the staff required for park patrols and minimizing physical contact between park staff and park visitors. This reduces the risk of exposure to the virus. The key is that unlike wheeled robots, the Boston Dynamics creation works well on different terrains and can effectively overcome obstacles, making it ideal for operation in public parks and gardens.

SPOT is equipped with security sensors to detect objects and people on your way. It has built-in algorithms to detect an object or person within 1 meter of its proximity to avoid collision. The robot will be accompanied by at least one NParks officer during the trial period. And if the test is successful, NParks will consider deploying SPOT in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park during the morning and afternoon rush hours. The NParks will also study plans to deploy SPOT in other parks such as the Jurong Lake Gardens.

SPOT is also currently being tested at the Changi Exhibition Center Community Isolation Center to deliver essential items such as medicines to patients. SNDGG will also explore the use of SPOT to support other COVID-19 related operations across agencies.


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