Dubai is now fielding PAL Robotics' REEM robot as a police kiosk. The Dubai government plans to field robots that can actually perform police duties by 2030. (Photo: PAL Robotics)

Dubai is now fielding PAL Robotics' REEM robot as a police kiosk. The Dubai government plans to field robots that can actually perform police duties by 2030. (Photo: PAL Robotics)

Dubai, one of seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates, is taking a technological leap of faith this week as it introduces its first robot officer to the Dubai police force. Designed by the Spanish company PAL Robotics, the specialized REEM robot stands 5 feet 6 inches high and looks like a knight in shining white plastic armor, riding in on its wheels (rather than a horse).

This is just the first step for the Dubai police department. The department aims to have 25 percent of its police force composed of robot officers by the year 2030. "We are looking to make everything smart in Dubai Police. By 2030, we will have the first smart police station which won't require human employees," Brigadier Khalid Nasserl Al Razouqi, the General Director of Dubai Police's Smart Services Department, told Gulf News.

What can the robot police officer do? The prototype unveiled last year at GITEX, an annual Dubai-based electronics trade show, was basically a glorified kiosk, complete with a touch screen interface. Using an integrated tablet on the robot's midsection, people could report crimes, submit paperwork, and pay fines for traffic violations. It's unclear how or if the robot has been upgraded since then, though Dubai police were working with Watson, IBM's AI system, on voice command recognition. Eventually, the department plans on using the robots as full-fledged police officers, Endgadget.com reports.

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