15 Scary Ways The Police Are Becoming Ever More Like “Robocop”

It’s getting harder and harder to separate fact from science fiction in an era of augmented reality, predictive policing and miniature drones.

1. Meet PatrolBot, a prototype being developed by officers in the US Navy Reserves with Florida University International.

PatrolBot is a telepresence robot or telebot.

Telebots are already used in operating rooms and on battlefields, but this project could see them introduced to police patrols, to help disabled officers continue serving.

PatrolBot would allow a policeman to use a virtual reality headset to take control remotely, potentially apprehending criminals in absentia.

2. Policing isn’t enforced by robocops quite yet, but it’s heading that way. In the UK a company called Kopin Corporation has produced a product called Golden-i. It’s like Google Glass for coppers.

Via REX USA/Golden-i/Rex

3. It includes an HUD like this, which would allow police to see effectively through walls.

Via REX USA/Golden-i/Rex

4. The accompanying Police Pro application records incidents, helps identify suspects using facial recognition, scans licence plates and can monitor vital signs.

Via REX USA/Golden-i/Rex

There’s a hilarious video of it in action here.

Remind you of anyone?

5. Meanwhile, in the US, on-body cameras are becoming standard practice.

Via Karl Gehring/The Denver Post / Getty

6. The Taser Axon Body combines a wearable camera and cloud-based storage at Evidence.com.

The jury’s still out on whether this is a good idea.

7. Throw in some facial recognition…

8. …and some predictive crime mapping, which crunches data to identify potential hotspots.

9. And you have a system straight out of Minority Report.

10. These British cop cars might look kind of tame, but they’re equipped with cameras, facial recognition software, black box recorders and Facewatch technology.

Facewatch is an “online crime reporting and intelligence community”. There’s an app too, where the public can browse and identify suspects.

11. Drones could be joining the force too.

Via AFP/Getty Images

In the US, domestic surveillance drones were approved this summer and in the UK police minister Damian Green said they should be used “like any other piece of police kit”.

Via AFP / Getty Images

12. There are already drones that can fly like insects.

13. Cue scary speculative stories on Wired about armed drones, complete with strobes, tear gas, and Long Range Acoustic Devices.

14. Incidentally, this is a Long Range Acoustic Device, one of a number of tools in the future cop’s arsenal.

Via Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star

15. Others include Active Denial Systems (aka heat rays), PHASRs like the one below, and of course the good old Taser.

All of which means we can sleep safe at night, assured an army of robocops backed by weapons and technology from the future are obliterating any threats as we lie dreaming.

Via Terry O’Neill/Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Comforting isn’t it?

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