Bomb detector robot, MiniX, a new addition to the police search unit

SINGAPORE – There is a new participant in this year’s National Day festivities, but onlookers are unlikely to see him even if they are shielded by him.

It’s one of two new police devices – a four-wheeled, remote-controlled robot that can detect bombs, security threats and suspicious objects – but its work is done almost exclusively underground in the sewers.

While the MiniX robot takes care of security on the ground, a drone works in the air to ensure people’s safety – it is equipped with cameras and other sensors to scan high-rise areas during operations.

The devices, unveiled during a media preview at Police Security Command (SecCom) on Thursday July 21, will help reduce the workload and risk posed to officers who would normally inspect the grounds in person to detect threats before large-scale events.

SecCom officers, headquartered in Toa Payoh, search major security event locations and ensure the safety of guests and important personnel.

They may face dangers while inspecting places such as telecom cable tunnels, drains and manholes, where they may be exposed to pollutants or harmful gases, police said in a statement. .

The backpack-sized Remote Operated Vehicle (RCV) can be fitted with a range of sensors and equipment and can maneuver through sewers and tight tunnels to search for suspicious objects.

The vehicles have been deployed at security events such as the May Day Rally, Shangri-La Dialogue and National Day events.

During a protest on Thursday, an RCV was driven through a drain to search for potential threats. The MiniX was equipped with a GoPro camera, which gives its operators a wider view than the standard camera housed in its chassis.

An officer controlled the RCV from a computer and monitored with a live camera on the screen.

The Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), which developed the devices with SecCom, said the analysis software loaded on the computer quickly identifies any abnormalities detected.

The software will become increasingly effective at flagging suspicious items as the artificial intelligence is fed with more images of objects to monitor, HTX said.

Brandon D. James