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While you may have thought you’d seen it all, you probably haven’t seen anything like this before. Yes, robot dogs are patrolling parks in Singapore.

Spot a four-legged robot made by Boston Dynamics is in recent times being used in Singapore to help encourage people to social distance more properly. This interesting little robotic canine walks around and reminds people to try to stay at least one meter apart but it does not necessarily ‘enforce’ social distancing. This in itself is an interesting way to do things and helps remind people without putting others close to the people they’d be warning. 

On the government there’s website as follows was written on the topic:

From today (8 May), NParks and SNDGG will be deploying SPOT over a 3-km stretch in the River Plains section of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park for two weeks during off-peak hours. A recorded message will be broadcast from SPOT to remind park visitors to observe safe distancing measures. SPOT will also be fitted with cameras – enabled with GovTech-developed video analytics – to estimate the number of visitors in parks. These cameras will not be able to track and/or recognize specific individuals, and no personal data will be collected.

SPOT will be controlled remotely, reducing the manpower required for park patrols and minimizing physical contact among staff, volunteer safe distancing ambassadors, and park visitors. This lowers the risk of exposure to the virus. Unlike wheeled robots, SPOT works well across different terrains and can navigate obstacles effectively, making it ideal for operation in public parks and gardens.

SPOT is fitted with safety sensors to detect objects and people in its path. It has in-built algorithms to detect an object or person within 1 meter of its proximity to avoid collision. SPOT will be accompanied by at least one NParks officer during the trial period.

Should the trial prove successful, NParks will consider deploying SPOT at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park during the morning and evening peak hours. NParks will also study plans to deploy SPOT to other parks such as the Jurong Lake Gardens.

While all they seem to do at the moment is play recorded messages, it is something that could help with social distancing in big ways depending on how this pandemic plays out as time continues to pass in more affected areas. They are small yellow and black robots with cameras on them. That having been said, these robots cannot track people or anything of that sort so those in the area should not be concerned about things of that nature. 

For those who do not know Singapore has more than 21,000 cases and is one of the highest in Asia at the moment. Considering their population is of about 5.7 million according to Business Insider, spreading there could be disastrous. In Singapore, lockdown is in effect until June 1st and these robots could end up doing a good job at keeping some in check. 

What do you think about the use of this nifty technology? I for one think it’s quite mind-blowing. Who would have thought things like this would be so prominent?