Robotic law enforcement machines, not unlike something you might find in Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop, could be headed to the streets of Camden, New Jersey in the near future. According to Screen Crush, researchers at the Florida International University’s Discovery Lab and a US Navy Reserves Lieutenant are working hard to make crime fighting robots a reality.
The design is pretty spectacular: These electronic police officers, which are described as “telepresence robots,” would essentially patrol the streets in place of human beings. At the controls of these real life RoboCop wannabes are disabled law enforcement officers and military veterans. The science fiction nerd living inside your brain is probably exploding with excitement right about now.
Cnet reports that these robots would be able to do anything from “responding to 911 calls and writing parking tickets to ensuring the security of nuclear facilities.” In other words, they would service the public trust, protect the innocent, and uphold the law.
Lieutenant Commander Jeremy Robins had this to say about the project:
“The telebot has to look intimidating and authoritative enough so that people obey its commands — because of course it’s not the telebot telling you what to do, it’s the disabled police officer controlling the telebot who’s telling you what to do. On the flip side, it has to be approachable enough so that a lost 3-year-old feels comfortable coming up to the telebot and asking for help finding her mother. That’s a challenging design problem, and one which I’m sure will take many iterations before we get it perfectly right.”
Should everything go according to plan, these telebots would have their first assignment on the mean streets of New Jersey. However, it remains unclear how much these RoboCops will be able to do when it comes to preventing actual crimes. Will they only serve as roving cameras, or could these law-enforcing machines actually stop criminals in their tracks?
Do you think robots, or “RoboCops,” are the future of law enforcement?