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A robot traffic cop, which belongs to Certis, is on trial at Changi Airport, and conducts patrols but does not issue summonses.

06 Jun 2019 | Local News : Singapore


A robot traffic cop is doing the rounds at Changi Airport. In a video obtained by The Straits Times, an orange and black robot - about a metre tall - with the words 'Traffic Enforcement in Progress' flashing, stops, points its camera at a car that is waiting at an unauthorised area and flashes the words 'No Parking'. The robot belongs to Certis, which provides security services at Changi Airport, and is on trial. It conducts patrols but does not issue summonses.

Changi Airport has been turning to technology to operate more efficiently and reduce the reliance on manpower
A Certis spokesman said, "As part of our ongoing efforts to re-imagine new concepts in advanced security operations, Certis has been conducting trials at Changi Airport in the past two weeks." The robot is fully autonomous and encourages smooth traffic flow, added the spokesman. If feasible, such robots will take some of the load off Certis officers who can then be re-deployed.

At Changi Airport, where the firm has about 4,000 staff, leveraging technology is critical, Mr. Tan Toi Chia, Senior Vice President of Corporate Planning, Group Communications and Marketing at Certis, said last month. At the Certis Integrated Operations Centre in Terminal 2, for example, a network of thousands of cameras helps staff keep watch on the passenger terminals, airport perimeter and Airport Boulevard round the clock.

Even as technology continues to develop and robots perform some security functions, 'the human touch will always be required', Mr. Tan told The Straits Times. "Technology will help us do things better, faster and more effectively, but it will never replace humans 100%," he said.

The robot trial is the latest initiative at Changi Airport, which has been turning to technology to operate more efficiently and reduce the reliance on manpower. Across all operations - from passenger check-in to baggage and cargo handling, as well as cleaning services - new technology and systems have been rolled out in the last few years. For example, more than seven in 10 departing passengers now have access to Changi's Fast and Seamless Travel (Fast) initiatives. This allows them to opt for self-service check-in, bag tagging and boarding.
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