Far from barking its orders, a robot dog enlisted by Singapore authorities to help curb coronavirus infections in the city-state politely asks joggers and cyclists to stay apart. The remote-controlled, four-legged machine built by Boston Dynamics was first deployed in a central park on Friday as part of a two-week trial that could see it join other robots policing Singapore's green spaces during a nationwide lockdown. "Let's keep Singapore healthy," the yellow and black robodog named Spot said in English as it roamed around. "For your own safety and for those around you, please stand at least one metre apart. Thank you," it added, in a softly-spoken female voice.
Boston Dynamics' robotic dog, Spot, is roving Singapore parks in an effort to remind pedestrians to remain a safe distance from one another. According to a statement from the country's National Parks Board, Spot will traverse a 4-mile swath of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park during off-peak hours while playing a recorded message that reminds park-goers'observe safe distancing measures.' The bot will also be fitted with cameras that are'enabled with... video analytics' which will be used to estimate the number of people in the park. According to a statement, the cameras will not track or record specific individuals, and no personal data will be collected. MailOnline has reached out to Singapore's Government Technology Agency to find out more about the video analytics system equipped to the bot and will update with further information.
The National AI Strategy announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat at the Singapore FinTech Festival last November mapped out how Singapore will develop and deploy AI solutions to transform the economy and improve lives. The National AI Strategy focuses on five key areas -- healthcare, security, smart estates, education and logistics -- and is led by the National AI Office, an agency created under the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office. Some of the areas where results are already beginning to show in real time are in using AI and robots in the fight against Covid-19, AI analysis for better Covid-19 contact tracing, smart AI robots for patrol and surveillance, smart sensors and meters to save water and AI in data analytics for tourism insights. A recent example of using AI-powered video analytics is VigilantGantry, which automatically screens temperatures of individuals passing through a gantry or entrance with a regular video camera and thermal scanner. The software can detect and screen the temperatures of those wearing caps or items that cover their foreheads.
Singapore has retained its pole position for the second year in a global smart city index, thanks partly to its use of technology in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Helsinki climbs six spots to claim second position this year, while Zurich drops a spot to rank third. Auckland and Oslo round up the top five in fourth and fifth position, respectively, in this year's IMD-SUTD Smart City Index, which is a collaboration between IMD and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). The report defines a smart city as "an urban setting that applies technology to enhance the benefits and diminish the shortcomings of urbanisation for its citizens". Singapore government confirms plans to develop a "next-generation" satellite-based road system to enable distance-based pricing for motorists, but mentions nothing about what it would do to address privacy concerns. The 2020 index assessed 109 cities, seven more than its debut last year, based on economic and technological data as well as citizens' perceptions of how "smart" their cities were.
Singapore has rolled out a new digital check-in system to boost its contact tracing efforts and stem the spread of COVID-19, making it mandatory at certain locations across the island. The move comes weeks after the launch of a contact tracing app that has since garnered more than 1.4 million downloads, but well below the government's hope to reach three quarters of the local population. Called SafeEntry, the digital check-in system collects data that can be used to facilitate contact tracing should an individual who visited the location be tested for COVID-19. QR codes are displayed at the entry and exit points of a venue, which visitors must scan and input their name, national identification number, and mobile number. Alternatively, they can use any identification card that carries a barcode such as their driver's licence, work permit, or student pass, which then is scanned by staff stationed at the venue's entry point.