On the road with Dubai Police in UAE-built Ghiath patrol car

'The National' joined officers driving around city in smart vehicle

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“The day of a patrol officer in this vehicle starts by him logging in to the system that you see in front of you,” said First Lt Engineer Mohamed Zainal as he pointed to an integrated 16-inch central screen inside the new Ghiath smart patrol car.

The powerful on-board computer, which is linked to Dubai Police’s command and control centre, can show any incidents happening in the area.

“Once he receives the incident, he has a certain KPI [key performance indicator], which is in minutes to respond to that incident,” Mr Zainal said.

He pressed a button behind the steering wheel, pushing the SUV to a smooth and rapid start.

The National joined officers from Dubai Police's Engineering and Innovation unit in the Ghiath, the latest type of patrol car to be introduced to the force's fleet.

The vehicles were launched in March at the World Police Summit at Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo 2020 Dubai. They are manufactured in the UAE by Emirati carmaker W Motors. The hardware and software were customised to meet the requirements of Dubai Police.

Thirty per cent of the car’s interior and exterior parts are 3D printed. The cars are equipped with advanced technology, functionality and reliability.

Currently, 10 Ghiath vehicles are patrolling the streets of Dubai. A total of 400 Ghiath patrol cars will be introduced over the next five years.

“We have plans to work on 16 other designs. We will have a tricycle Ghiath, there [will be] a bicycle Ghiath, there [will be] an autonomous Ghiath and there [will be] an electrically powered Ghiath,” said First Lt Engineer Zainal.

“We are looking into different versions such as a rescue Ghiath, a SWAT Ghiath as well as a first-responder Ghiath.”

The vehicles were named Ghiath by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, after his falcon.

“Just like the falcon, this vehicle also responds fast to incidents that occur within the emirate of Dubai,” Mr Zainal said.

Advanced camera surveillance

“The Ghiath cars have 10 external cameras whereas other patrol vehicles have eight,” he added.

“With more cameras, it's able to do more processing when it comes to AI. You can, for example, in future, add more AI algorithms to it. When you have more cameras, you can collect more data. That's an advantage of these vehicles.”

Another feature that is special to Ghiath is the presence of multiple camera screens on the right side of the dashboard. The screen displays alerts when it spots “wanted” licence plates.

The vehicles also have a 360-degree camera on the roof with pan, tilt and zoom capabilities, said Mr Zainal as he zoomed into a nearby building, magnifying it 30 times.

The central screen gives officers access to different software including one for finding the owner of a vehicle from the licence plate captured by Ghiath’s cameras.

“We can read the licence plate of the vehicle and if the plate is wanted, the information is sent to the operations room and the officer in the car is also notified,” said Mr Zainal.

“However, this function is used when the patrol car is stationary. It's not used when it's moving so that the driver is not distracted.”

In addition, there are two internal cameras which capture video inside the car cabin.

One of the cameras monitors driver behaviour.

“If he's tired, if he's not paying attention or if his hand is not, for example, on the steering wheel or if he's being distracted, the camera alerts him.”

A drone storage box in the boot. Nilanjana Gupta / The National

Drone on board

Ghiath smart patrol features a compartment in the boot to store rescue and safety equipment, and a custom-built drone box with an advanced drone, which can fly for up to 30 minutes. The drone, which is equipped with a thermal camera and a daylight camera, can send live feed to the main command and control room.

With the drone comes a lot of training, explained Mr Zainal.

“The officer is trained on how to use the drone based on the incident. If it's a traffic incident, the drone is used in a certain manner. If it's a rescue mission, the drone is used in another manner as you have three different payloads.”

The officers also receive training which allows them to respond to the maximum number of incidents.

“They're trained to be first responders. They're trained on using the first aid kit. They're also trained on using the system,” said Mr Zainal.

“This is how the officer that drives this vehicle is unique.”

Updated: November 11, 2022, 12:28 PM