Police robot rolled out for Chingay parade

The crowd enjoying the fireworks display during the Chingay finale at River Hongbao last night. In an effort to step up security, the police robot was deployed after 8pm to patrol a 400m stretch at the end point of the parade.
The crowd enjoying the fireworks display during the Chingay finale at River Hongbao last night. In an effort to step up security, the police robot was deployed after 8pm to patrol a 400m stretch at the end point of the parade.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mrs Lee arriving at the Chingay parade last night. With them was Minister in the Prime Minister's Office	Chan Chun Sing.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mrs Lee arriving at the Chingay parade last night. With them was Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing.

Spectators at last night's Chingay parade might have seen a blue, white and red robot roving the grounds among the crowd during the celebrations.

In its debut public showcase yesterday, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) patrol robot helped the police step up security efforts at Chingay 2018, which saw an estimated 100,000-strong crowd on its first day last night at the F1 Pit Building.

It was deployed after 8pm to patrol a 400m stretch at the end point of the parade.

The robot, which feeds 360-degree live video footage back to the command post with its six surround cameras, can be used to detect threats and suspicious characters.

Only one operator is needed to monitor its video feed on a tablet device. Officers can then make sense of the images and deploy forces accordingly, said Ms M. Malathi, assistant director of the SPF's strategic planning division.

The robot can also be used for crowd dispersal as its in-built speakers can broadcast audio messages to the public.

Following a pre-mapped route, the robot is able to avoid obstacles in its path.

Dressed in bright, glittery costumes, performers from the Singapore Buddhist Federation lit up the F1 Pit building with their dance last night. They were among 6,500 performers in the Chingay parade. For the first time, the parade made the 1.5km trek
Dressed in bright, glittery costumes, performers from the Singapore Buddhist Federation lit up the F1 Pit building with their dance last night. They were among 6,500 performers in the Chingay parade. For the first time, the parade made the 1.5km trek to River Hongbao, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on board one of nine floats. Chingay 2018 will continue today, with President Halimah Yacob as the guest of honour. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

This is the patrol robot's first trial by the SPF. If successful, it will be deployed in longer operations, such as during the Singapore Formula One event.

  • 100,000 

    Estimated number of people at last night's Chingay parade.

Those who damage the robot will be "dealt with under the law" as it is government property, said Ms Malathi.

She declined to comment on the cost involved to develop the robot - a process which took three months.


The SPF has at least two other robot prototypes in the works.

More information on this will be given in the police's annual Workplan Seminar.

The second day of the Chingay parade continues at the F1 Pit Building tonight.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2018, with the headline 'Police robot rolled out for Chingay parade'. Print Edition | Subscribe