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8 May, 2020 13:21

Release the hounds! Singapore deploys ROBOT DOG to help enforce social distancing (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Release the hounds! Singapore deploys ROBOT DOG to help enforce social distancing (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Singapore has taken the monitoring and enforcement of social distancing to a whole new level, opting to deploy a robot dog, backed by a fleet of drones, to make sure citizens keep their hands to themselves to combat coronavirus.

Beginning on Friday May 8, the robot dog, creatively dubbed ‘Spot,’ will monitor the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in the city-state. 

It is the first trial of a new initiative to help manage and enforce social distancing in the Singapore’s parks, gardens and nature reserves, all managed by the National Parks Board.

The motorized mutt delivers a pre-recorded message reminding visitors to keep a safe distance from each other and is fitted with cameras and video analytic software to calculate and estimate visitor numbers to a given park and to monitor their density. The machine will be accompanied by a handler during the trial. 

Spot’s cameras will reportedly not be fitted with or tied to facial recognition software and will not collect or store any personal data. For the time being, at least. 


Originally developed by American company Boston Dynamics, the robot dog has fitted sensors so it doesn't inadvertently crash into people but that also allow it to navigate diverse terrains and to manage obstacles with relative ease.

Authorities opted to try the system out to reduce the number of human staff in the parks, thus limiting potential infection vectors in green public spaces. 

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The Spot robot is also on trial at the Changi Exhibition Centre community isolation facility, which houses coronavirus patients exhibiting mild symptoms, where it helps deliver food and medicine while minimizing human-to-human contact. 

The parks board is also deploying a fleet of 30 drones to monitor visitor numbers in certain parks and shared green spaces,and potentially to work in tandem with a pack of robot dogs, should the trial prove successful.

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