Robocops and predicting crime: Dubai Police plan an artificial intelligence future

Police tell security conference that 'there’s nothing impossible here'

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 23, 2018, Intersec 20 Middle East Security Conference, Dubai International Convention Centre. Dubai ROBOCOP at the Smart Police Station booth at the conference.
Victor Besa / The National
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Dubai Police are investing heavily in artificial intelligence to help predict crime and accidents, alleviate traffic congestion and even power robocops.

Khaled Al Razooqi, head of AI at Dubai Police and a board member of Dubai Smart City, said the city of the future would be led and controlled by an array of intelligent machines.

“Dubai has an increasing number of vehicles and every person from each nationality has their own way of driving,” Mr Al Razooqi told the Intersec security conference in Dubai yesterday.

“So with UAE car manufacturers, we will install sensors to study the behaviour of drivers and see how we can teach them the best way to drive.

“Vehicles will instruct police where they should cover based on data we have, and perhaps where there is crime. We want to be the smartest police force in the world with the smartest employees and happy residents.”


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The force is working on deploying its own robocop, which is still in the testing phase.

“It will interact with people and answer their questions, and will be available across all areas of Dubai,” Mr Al Razooqi said.

There are also plans to make it possible to pay traffic fines through Siri. Meanwhile, a smartphone app will be developed for special needs residents, including the visually impaired, to allow them to easily communicate with emergency services.

Dubai Police have also introduced an intelligent virtual assistant to reduce the number of calls to the operation room, Mr Al Razooqi said.

“There’s nothing impossible here in Dubai,” he said.

The police force is working on a facial recognition system that will be integrated into more than 10,000 CCTV cameras across the emirate to read people’s behaviour and detect offences.

Police said they were taking privacy into consideration.

AI will also be able to analyse traffic patterns to detect where bottlenecks are likely to form and predict accidents based on the age, nationality and safety history of the driver.

Automated patrols cars will be able to detect offences, read number plates and send a live feed to a command and control system, while robots will monitor parking in Dubai. Drones, robots and driverless vehicles will issue fines, predict crime and find abandoned vehicles.

The AI market is predicted to jump in worth from almost US$270 million (Dh991.7m) last year to $1.6 billion by 2025, business consultancy Frost & Sullivan said. The company said that by 2021, 80 per cent of interactions done online will be automated through text chat or voice-powered services.

“China and India will contribute significantly to AI-enabled solutions by 2020 and we can expect to see surgical robots in hospitals in the future,” said Benoy CS, head of digital transformation practice at Frost & Sullivan, Middle East, North Africa and South Africa.