Singapore Using Robot Dog SPOT to Encourage Social Distancing

In the battle against COVID-19, Singapore is really doing its best to enforce social distancing. They recently have been using a big robot to help patrol parks. It’s been going up and down paths reminding citizens to keep their distance. Now they are adding another robot to help in the fight against the virus.

The country is using a dog-like robot named SPOT to help enforce social distancing over about a 2 mile stretch in the River Plains section of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. The program will last for two weeks, with the robot working during off-peak hours. SPOT comes from US-based company Boston Dynamics and has gotten a good deal of press recently due to its unique look and features.

“The National Parks Board (NParks) and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (comprising Smart Nation and Digital Government Office and Government Technology Agency) are conducting a pilot trial of a four-legged robot called SPOT to assist safe distancing efforts at parks, gardens and nature reserves managed by NParks, including Park Connectors, Pulau Ubin, as well as parks managed by town councils,” said Government Technology Agency of Singapore in a press release.

SPOT Robot Includes Cameras to Monitor Park

While the robot patrols the park, a recorded message is broadcast to remind visitors to practice social distancing. SPOT will also include cameras fitted with analytics software to monitor the number of visitors. According to officials, the cameras will not track or recognize any specific individuals or collect any personal data.

SPOT was chosen for its ability to navigate different types of terrain as it can walk park paths but also go over a hill or climb stairs. Onboard safety sensors help the robot detect objects and people who may get in the way.

SPOT isn’t just working to enforce social distancing in parks. It’s is also currently being trialed at the Changi Exhibition Centre to deliver essential items such as medicine to patients. Singapore officials are looking for other ways to use SPOT to help in the battle against COVID-19.

Check out our articles on robot maids and Malaysian robot Medibot doing rounds in virus wards.