Robocops could roam our streets

Picture the scene - you have just been a wee bit naughty and dropped your crisp packet on the street.

You hear thunderous footsteps behind you and, before you know it, Robocop has you by the arm and is threatening to march you off for "police processing".

According to one of the UK's pre-eminent robotics experts, our streets could be policed by robotic cops by the year 2084.

The study was carried out by Professor Noel Sharkey of the University of Sheffield, who claims that inter-linking robots could be on the beat in the next 75 years.

He says that they will cut crime, detect weapons and free up police officers time.

The report was commissioned by Warner Home Video to mark the release of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

It says that the advanced humanoid robots will be made from inorganic material but will have human-like features and expressions.

These robocops will be able to arrest humans with a substantial constraining force due to their super-strength and inability to feel pain.

And, echoing films like Terminator and Robocop, they will also be able to detect weapons including guns, knives and explosives as well as recognising drunks and aggressive behaviour in large areas.

Professor Sharkey looked at the latest and future robotic developments in Japan, China, South Korea, Israel, USA and UK for his two-month investigation.

Sharkey also predicted that autonomous police cars could appear by 2070.

These cars will be able to recognise speeding cars, identify license plates and automatically deduct fines from bank accounts at the same time as adding points on driving licenses.
Professor Sharkey concluded: "Hollywood movies and TV shows such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles have been dismissed as fantastical over the years, but this report, based on existing research and current technological developments, suggests that robots will play a much bigger role in society over the next 75 years than previously anticipated."

"These robot developments could be extremely beneficial in the protection of citizens and police in the hands of benevolent governments. But in the wrong hands, as warned in the movie, robot law enforcement could be a major blow to individual privacy and basic human rights."