Automated law enforcement

Written December, 2013

Automated Law Enforcement

Police are already experimenting with robots, both armed and unarmed, and it’s only a matter of time before robots become standard in the surveillance, analysis, and enforcement of crimes. They are never tired, irritable, in need of a break, or biased, but neither are they able to take in the context of any given situation.

We know there is future for robotic law enforcement in traffic violations (for example, will your onboard computer simply shut your car down as soon as you start speeding?), but how far will this extend? So far, Iowa City is the only place in the nation that currently mandates that a human be involved at some point in the process of assessing and punishing a crime.

At what point is human instinct and judgment necessary in the enforcement of law or prevention of crimes? Is it most efficient to build a supposedly bias-free system of law that is responsible for determining, adjudicating, and punishing crime?



Confronting Automated Law Enforcement (from We, Robot Conference at Stanford, 2013)
(See a video presentation of the research here)

Automated Law Enforcement Overview (National Conference of State Legislatures)

Automated Law Enforcement for Traffic Violations

“Automated Traffic Law Enforcement” – Video from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Do Traffic Cameras Save Lives or Violate Due Process? (PBS News Hour)

NYC Plans Utopia of Traffic Safety (Outside Magazine)

Automated Enforcement Laws – With Map (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

A “Dilemma Zone” For Red-Light Cameras: Safety Vs. Cash (NPR)

Lights, Cameras, Reaction: Resistance Builds Against Red-Light Cameras (NBC News)
Beyond Traffic Violations

Change Agents: William Li’s Robot Wants to Police You (USA Today)

The Rise of the Police Robot (with video) (Guardian Liberty Voice)

Ethical Behavior in Lethal Autonomous Systems Expert Lectures at NPS (Naval Postgraduate School)

Cool Cop Tech: 5 New Technologies Helping Police Fight Crime (ComputerWorld)

Is ‘RoboCop’ HUD Tech Coming to Law Enforcement Soon? (

Ban Killer Robocops Before It’s Too Late, Rights Groups Say (CIO)

Future Tech? Autonomous Killer Robots Are Already Here (NBC News)