NParks and SNDGG trial SPOT robot for safe distancing operations at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park

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MEDIA RELEASE

 

NPARKS AND SNDGG TRIAL SPOT ROBOT FOR SAFE DISTANCING OPERATIONS AT BISHAN-ANG MO KIO PARK

 

8 May 2020 - The National Parks Board (NParks) and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (comprising Smart Nation and Digital Government Office and Government Technology Agency) are conducting a pilot trial of a four-legged robot called SPOT to assist safe distancing efforts at parks, gardens and nature reserves managed by NParks, including Park Connectors, Pulau Ubin, as well as parks managed by town councils.

 

Trial in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park

 

2 From today (8 May), NParks and SNDGG will be deploying SPOT over a 3-km stretch in the River Plains section of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park for two weeks during off-peak hours. A recorded message will be broadcast from SPOT to remind park visitors to observe safe distancing measures. SPOT will also be fitted with cameras – enabled with GovTech-developed video analytics – to estimate the number of visitors in parks. These cameras will not be able to track and/or recognise specific individuals, and no personal data will be collected.

 

3 SPOT will be controlled remotely, reducing the manpower required for park patrols and minimising physical contact among staff, volunteer safe distancing ambassadors and park visitors. This lowers the risk of exposure to the virus. Unlike wheeled robots, SPOT works well across different terrains and can navigate obstacles effectively, making it ideal for operation in public parks and gardens. 

 

4 SPOT is fitted with safety sensors to detect objects and people in its path. It has in-built algorithms to detect an object or person within 1 metre of its proximity to avoid collision. SPOT will be accompanied by at least one NParks officer during the trial period.

 

5 Should the trial prove successful, NParks will consider deploying SPOT at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park during the morning and evening peak hours. NParks will also study plans to deploy SPOT to other parks such as the Jurong Lake Gardens.

 

6 SPOT is also currently being trialled at the Changi Exhibition Centre community isolation facility to deliver essential items such as medicine to patients. SNDGG will also explore the use of SPOT to support other COVID-19 related operations across agencies.

 

7 Technology has been used to help NParks in safe distancing work. The Safe Distance @ Parks portal (safedistparks.nparks.gov.sg), for instance, was developed by NParks to allow the public to look for a park near them and check visitorship levels before leaving their house. A total of 30 drones are also being deployed in selected parks and nature areas to provide officers with a high vantage point to obtain visitorship updates quickly, complementing ground observations, as well as give them a better sense of the density of visitors in a specific area.

 

8 NParks and MOH reiterate the advice for the public to stay home to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spread. If they wish to exercise (walk, jog and cycle), they should go to a park or park connector that is in their neighbourhood alone, and return to their home thereafter. They are required to wear masks when outside their homes except when doing strenuous exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling or walking in hilly terrain, for example in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Bukit Batok Nature Park.

 

JOINTLY ISSUED BY NPARKS, SNDGO AND GOVTECH

 

About Government Technology Agency

The Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) is the lead agency driving Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative and public sector digital transformation. As the Centre of Excellence for Infocomm Technology and Smart Systems (ICT & SS), GovTech develops the Singapore Government’s capabilities in Data Science & Artificial Intelligence, Application Development, Sensors & IoT, Digital Infrastructure, and Cybersecurity.

 

GovTech supports public agencies to manage enterprise IT operations and develop new digital products for citizens and businesses. GovTech is the public sector lead for cybersecurity, and oversees key government ICT infrastructure, as well as regulates ICT procurement, data protection and security in the public sector. GovTech is a Statutory Board under the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) in the Prime Minister’s Office.

 

For more information, please visit www.tech.gov.sg.

 

About Smart Nation and Digital Government Office

The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO), under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), plans and prioritises key Smart Nation projects, drives the digital transformation of government, builds long-term capabilities for the public sector, and promotes adoption and participation from the public and industry, to take a collective approach in building a Smart Nation.

 

For more information, please visit www.smartnation.gov.sg.

 

About NParks

The National Parks Board (NParks) is responsible for enhancing and managing the urban ecosystems of our City in Nature. We are the lead agency for greenery, biodiversity conservation, and wildlife and animal health, welfare and management. We are also working closely with the community to enhance the quality of our living environment.

 

NParks manages more than 350 parks, 3,347 hectares of nature reserves, the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Jurong Lake Gardens, Pulau Ubin and the Sisters' Islands Marine Park. Adding to this is the extensive network of Nature Ways, and the over 300 km Park Connector Network that links major parks, nature areas and residential estates island-wide. Every year, we run over 3,500 educational and outreach programmes across our various green spaces.

 

NParks has developed an urban biodiversity conservation model, which aims to conserve representative ecosystems in land-scarce Singapore. NParks also monitors and coordinates measures to enhance the presence of biodiversity in our urban landscape.

 

NParks is working closely with partners in the landscape, horticulture, veterinary and animal sectors to increase productivity, and provide training for all levels of the workforce. Enhancing competencies of the industry will support Singapore’s vision of being a City in Nature.

 

For more information, visit www.nparks.gov.sg and www.facebook.com/nparksbuzz.

 

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For media clarification, please contact:                                       

 

TAN Boon Leng (Mr)

Senior Manager, Communications and Marketing Group

GovTech

Tel: +65 6211 0375

E-mail: TAN_Boon_Leng@tech.gov.sg

 

GOH Yu Chong (Mr)

Senior Manager, Adoption and Engagement Directorate

Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore

Mobile: +65 9644 1674

Email: goh_yu_chong@pmo.gov.sg

 

Ry-Anne LIM (Ms)

Manager, Communications and Community Engagement

National Parks Board

Mobile : +65 8218 0357

Email : ry-anne_lim@nparks.gov.sg

Last updated on 29 Jun 2020