California police have robot on duty, but he denies help
When the California Police announced that HP RoboCop would begin service at Huntington Park in June 2019, it seemed that the area's security was about to match that seen in science fiction movies. The robot is even nearly homonymous with the half-human, half-android character that was a hit in the 1980s.
The technological innovation of just over one meter high has high definition cameras that shoot 360 degrees, powerful microphones, an emergency button to contact the police directly, voice commands and would become part of the area patrol. However, in September 2019, a passerby discovered that things were not working exactly as they should.
Seeing a violent fight in the park, Cogo Guebara spotted the police robot not far away. She approached him and pressed the emergency button several times, trying to contact the police so that the officers could break the fight.
What she didn't expect was that, besides the button seeming to be of no use, the robot repeatedly asked her to get out of his way. When Cogo gave up, the robot distanced himself playing a song. HP RoboCop also asked other park goers to keep the park clean, but remained completely oblivious to the fight.
Police had to be contacted in a traditional way over the telephone and only arrived at the scene 15 minutes after the fight was over. A woman involved in trouble needed emergency care and was taken by ambulance to the hospital with a bleeding head.
California Police Explanation
Cosme Lozano, the region's chief of police, explained that the robot is still in the testing phase. Although it has several functions to ensure the safety of park goers, they are not yet active.
Cameras, for example, still do not archive any images and the emergency button has no direct connection with the police station. According to Lozano, these functions should be available before the end of October.
And this was not even the first problem involving a police robot in the same line as the HP RoboCop: on another occasion, also in California, a robot even dropped a child in a mall. In Washington, another robot fell into a fountain.