We'll totally skip all the Robocop references and jokes and get right to the point: The Discovery Lab of Florida International University and the US Navy Reserves are working together on robots that could take the place of policemen on the streets.
The robots wouldn't be autonomous. Instead, they would be controlled, remotely, by disabled police officers or other members of the armed forces.
Everything from issuing parking tickets to responding to emergencies should be within the bots' capabilities.
It doesn't sound terribly complicated in the grand scheme of things, and even Lieutennant Commander Jeremy Robins, who is partially funding the projects, admits
that they have run into a different hurdle: looks.
Put simply, they aren't sure how to make the police robot intimidating enough to demand obedience, while also keeping it approachable enough that even lost 3-year-old children would be willing to ask for their mommy.
Maybe some sort of transformation protocol could be designed into it, enabling it to shift from “sociable” to “mission” mode. That's just our suggestion though.