SINGAPORE - Commuters at the Ang Mo Kio MRT station were greeted on Monday (Dec 9) morning by the sight of Singapore's latest security officers on wheels: two high-tech robot guards.
The robots - the OB1FORC3 and the K3NOBI models, developed by local security company Oneberry Technologies - are equipped with intelligent surveillance cameras, sensors and video analytics capabilities, were part of Exercise Station Guard.
Exercise Station Guard is an emergency preparedness exercise carried out by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the SMRT to ensure operational readiness and strengthen security in public places.
The robots moved around the premises of the Ang Mo Kio station looking out for suspicious people and unattended items, observed by Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary.
As part of the exercise, commuters also participated in security screenings, which involved walking through a metal detector and having their belongings scanned by X-ray machines.
This is not the first time such robots have been out and about, as 10 K3NOBI security robots were used in July for surveillance and concierge duty for the Interpol World conference at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands.
To update the security measures, contingency plans and operational readiness at public transport nodes in Singapore, similar exercises using robot guards have been conducted since February last year.
Similar robot guards have been trialled previously at Hougang MRT station.
The LTA also deployed a 1.6m-tall ST Engineering robot that was equipped with seven cameras during a trial at Hougang MRT in December last year.
This robot also had an in-built global positioning system (GPS) as well as sensors which bounced lasers off objects, allowing it to patrol designated areas.
The robots trialled on Monday, however, used intelligent cameras and video analytics to allow security officers to patrol the building remotely.
The use of these "virtual" guard systems also reduces reliance on manpower, allowing security personnel to monitor areas remotely, through the robots' "eyes".
As of July this year, Oneberry Technologies had more than over 1,500 virtual guards in Singapore.
This number is set to grow, as the firm raised $30 million in funding in September that would allow it to expand its range of high-tech security and surveillance products, and to grow its presence in the region.
Correction note: This article has been edited for clarity.