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How Artificial Intelligence is helping Singapore to achieve its Smart Nation vision during the pandemic

The National AI Strategy announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat at the Singapore FinTech Festival last November mapped out how Singapore will develop and deploy AI solutions to transform the economy and improve lives.

The National AI Strategy focuses on five key areas — healthcare, security, smart estates, education and logistics — and is led by the National AI Office, an agency created under the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office.

Some of the areas where results are already beginning to show in real time are in using AI and robots in the fight against Covid-19, AI analysis for better Covid-19 contact tracing, smart AI robots for patrol and surveillance, smart sensors and meters to save water and AI in data analytics for tourism insights.

AI in the fight against Covid-19

A recent example of using AI-powered video analytics is VigilantGantry, which automatically screens temperatures of individuals passing through a gantry or entrance with a regular video camera and thermal scanner.

The software can detect and screen the temperatures of those wearing caps or items that cover their foreheads. VigilantGantry can also be integrated with existing infrastructure such as gated entrances.

GovTech also developed SPOTON, a mass temperature screening solution for venues with little infrastructure support.

SPOTON can screen the temperatures of up to 10 people at once. It was first tested at NTUC Club’s Downtown East and has been deployed at several buildings, including the Supreme Court and Parliament House.

With GovTech’s plans to license SPOTON’s software, companies from the private sector will soon be able to include the proprietary software in their existing thermal scanning solutions.

Robots help with patrolling and enforcing social distancing

When it comes to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, the robot named Spot was launched in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in May whose job it was to patrol and remind park-goers to observe a safe distance of at least 1m apart.

GovTech enhanced the robot dog Spot with features such as remote control, 3D-mapping and semi-autonomous operations.

Part of a two-week trial by the National Parks Board and Smart Nation and Digital Government Group, Spot is one of many technology-based innovations that has helped to ease the strain on manpower during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Singapore Police Force’s (SPF) Multi-purpose All Terrain Autonomous Robot, or Matar, moves about autonomously and provides Police Command Centres with real-time surveillance via a 360-degree video feed. Matar has audio communication functions for relaying messages on safe distancing measures.

Jointly developed by the SPF and the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), in partnership with ST Engineering and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

The police robot Matar is designed to operate at places with high human traffic as it is able to navigate stationary and dynamic obstacles along its patrol route.

It has been used as part of the police’s patrol and security surveillance efforts at large-scale events such as the National Day Parade, Marina Bay Countdown and the Chingay Parade.

Singapore is increasingly investing in and using data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors to make lives easier, safer and smarter. Use cases in the fight to contain the Covid-19 outbreak range from temperature screening, monitoring social distancing, innovative communications to reducing risk to frontline workers


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