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Miniature robot car goes on pedestrian paths to remind visitors to adhere to safe distancing rules

SINGAPORE — Joggers at Bedok Reservoir may have noticed a white automated miniature car dutifully plying its route along pedestrian paths, urging visitors to abide by safe distancing requirements and to “stay safe, stay home”.

Miniature robot car goes on pedestrian paths to remind visitors to adhere to safe distancing rules

Named O-R3, the robot (pictured) has been deployed as a "safe distancing ambassador" at Bedok Reservoir by national water agency PUB since April 23, 2020.

SINGAPORE — Joggers at Bedok Reservoir may have noticed a white automated miniature car dutifully plying its route along pedestrian paths, urging visitors to abide by safe distancing requirements and to “stay safe, stay home”.

Named O-R3, the robot has been deployed as a "safe distancing ambassador" at the reservoir by national water agency PUB since April 23.

Built by Singapore robotics manufacturer Otsaw, O-R3 has a 360-degree camera, sensors and the ability to record video footage, but PUB said that it will not use the device to enforce safe distancing rules or catch errant members of the public. 

O-R3 was originally part of a trial last May to support surveillance efforts at PUB’s plants and reservoirs, but is now being used this period to broadcast messages instead.

“The robot patrols around the reservoir and broadcasts messages in four languages, reminding visitors to refrain from gathering or loitering at reservoir parks and to adhere to safe distancing requirements,” PUB told TODAY.

Similar robots will be deployed at Pandan and MacRitchie Reservoirs in the future.

The agency said that trials with O-R3 were “encouraging” and that it would continue working closely with Otsaw to fine-tune the robot’s video analytics and audio capabilities.

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