Singapore has unveiled plans to test drones to complete manual tasks, which could see human workers replaced with AI within the next four years. In a country of just 5.6 million and relying heavily on foreign migrant workers, drones could be a solution to the manpower shortage.
Backed by the government and Singapore’s civil aviation authority, companies have already started trials which have seen the devices complete tasks - that would take humans weeks - in a number of days.
"Today's existing building inspection process is extremely slow, expensive, tedious, prone to accidents, fatigue and human error," Said Shawn Koo, chief technical officer of H3 Zoom, a unit of the firm H3 Dynamics.
The efficiency and accuracy of drones mean they are an obvious alternative to human labour. In a recent H3 Zoom test, a drone was able to photograph and check for defects against a tower block’s façade; a time-consuming, dangerous task for the South Asian workers who inspect such high-rise buildings on rope platforms.
Local firm ST Aerospace also have ambitious plans for drones. AI-powered Robotic guards, have the capability to chase intruders and transmit live images to security officials which can assist the police in their attempts to arrest criminals. Experts believe devices that could deliver parcels could be in place within the next four years.
However, drones have sparked controversy amongst Singaporeans who argue they pose as a threat to privacy and security, and have accused the technology as a way to spy on residents. Others have sparked safety concerns as to devices flying into aircrafts or collisions with buildings.