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Because nothing is as blatantly futuristic as a flying machine hovering around the streets and using algorithms and technology to read your emotions, a proposed patrol drone for police called Metropolis has been conceived to assist police with their routine duties. Brainchild of Charles Bombardier in a proposal over at The Globe and Mail, Metropolis would employ a friendly holographic avatar capable of interacting amicably with citizens and deciphering their emotions. Bombardier’s vision for the avatar is similar to BIT from the TRON franchise if that helps you visualize what you might encounter one night soon walking home from a bar.

Utilizing an empathy module with built-in software and algorithms capable of recognizing and deciphering human emotions by extracting subtle, emotional cues, Metropolis would be the first drone of its kind to not only survey and patrol, but essentially monitor, communicate and empathize with humans. Currently, such an empathy module is under development by Pascale Fung.

Design of Metropolis drone

Enlisting the help of Adolfo Esquivel, a Colombian industrial designer in Montreal, to create renderings and designs for his proposed Metropolis drone, Bombardier has detailed notions of what the design, aesthetic and schematics for this drone willlook like. Coming in at five feet tall and resembling a simplistic wheel-shaped design, the Metropolis would be powered with a liquid-cooled electric motor that would enable it to navigate quickly and efficiently between moving cars on the road and let it recharge itself automatically. Two built-in gyroscopes would assist with the drone’s turning, balancing and maneuvering capabilities.

The fancy avatar that would communicate and read your emotions like a book would be centered in the middle of the drone’s wheel design, high enough to be viewed through a car’s window. Metropolis would be equipped with cameras that will detect eye movement, along with the aforementioned emotion detecting technology that would utilize facial recognition software and vocal analytics to serve as a giant drone mood ring.

Metropolis emotion detecting drone

The avatars would evolve and adapt based on interactions with people due to internal artificial intelligence, with Bombardier going so far as to claim they would be able to learn and employ humor, slang and tension dissipating methods. The A.I. would also enable Metropolis to determine the best cours of action in different scenarios based on past experiences collected and collated by the interconnected hive of Metropolis drones.

Metropolis wouldn’t be a completely autonomous, chatty Cathy, emotion-reading drone. Police officers would be in charge of monitoring groups of the drones, guiding them and assisting with their human interactions. Bombardier hopes that Metropolis drones will ease the burden on police officers for daily, menial tasks in order for them to focus and concentrate more on important cases. In Bombardier’s vision of the future, a drone might be pulling you over from here on out.

Metropolis drone

All renderings and images property of Charles Bombardier.

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