Police wouldn't have to leave their vehicle during a traffic stop by using this gadget.
The technology isn’t possible for Robocop to join the police yet, but two inventors from Duke University now have a robot called the Sentinel for assisting law enforcement in traffic stops. The device would let officers remain in their vehicles, so that they would stay out of harm’s way. An Indiegogo project is currently underway to raise $7,500 for funding a fully functional prototype for the bot.
During a traffic stop, police would deploy the Sentinel, and it would roll up to the suspect’s vehicle. Once there, a screen would deploy and raise up to seven feet (2.13 meters). It would give the officer a 170-degree view for two-way communication, and the on-board camera would be able to scan a the driver’s license. On-board sensors could perform breathalyzer and THC tests, too. The makers are clear that the Sentinel doesn’t carry any weapons, and they promise not to change that.
The makers use 3d printing to construct the exterior of the Sentinel. The design is modular so that law enforcement agencies could modify it to their needs and more easily perform repairs. They believe that the result of this method is a bot that can come at a lower cost than other using other forms of fabrication.
At the time of this writing, the Indiegogo campaign has raised $406 from 9 backers out of the $7,500 goal. Reward tiers include getting a project sticker, t-shirt, and scale model of the Sentinel.
The concept of a robot for conducting traffic stops is interesting but comes with a lot of questions. Among the biggest ones centers on this device's deployment. Making an officer haul this robot out of the trunk every time could be a serious hassle and make things last even longer. There’re also the mechanical concerns of whether this bot could handle roads with big potholes, rain, or snow.
Let us know in the comments how you would feel if the police released a robot during a traffic stop.