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The police of the future: Innovation Lab opens in Duisburg
Interior Minister Reul: "This is where ideas become operational"
Ministry of the Interior of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

The North Rhine-Westphalian police are researching their future in a laboratory that is unique in Germany. Interior Minister Herbert Reul opened the Innovation Lab in Duisburg today (January 19, 2022). "The aim of the lab is to make the police better so that they in turn can better protect citizens. We want to be prepared for the challenges of the future and are therefore already working on solutions today to prepare the police, internal security and the population in the best possible way for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow."

The police are designing and testing new technologies in the more than 500 square meter laboratory at the port of Duisburg. On the one hand, existing products can be further developed here so that they meet the requirements of the police: "This laboratory enables us to develop tailor-made - and that means police-specific - solutions," said Interior Minister Reul. On the other hand, completely new products can also be produced in the Innovation Lab and prototypes can be made ready for series production. "This is where ideas become operational," said Reul.

For example, the Innovation Lab is testing how the dog-like walking robot "Spot" from Boston Dynamics can improve the work of the police. Reul: "No one is saying we need it right now, but we are testing the areas in which the robot could be useful to us in the future."

Other current research projects include 360-degree cameras, intelligent video systems based on UCC video walls with 140 screens, accessibility and the workplace of the future: the so-called HiPoS Cube (Hybrid Integrative Platform of Special Police Networks) is a rectangular cuboid; in a very small space, it contains a complete IT infrastructure of the kind normally found in police buildings. Its self-sufficient technology - thanks to its rechargeable battery, for example - means it is mobile and can be used anywhere. Police officers can connect to the HiPoS Cube via their cell phone or tablet and are immediately ready to work. "You can set it up on any greenfield site," said Interior Minister Reul. "It would have helped us a lot in the flood areas in July. Had is the key word here - the aim of this laboratory is to get ahead of the situation."

In addition, the Innovation Lab is a platform for collaborating with business and science as well as other security authorities; for example, there is already a cooperation with the Innovation Hub of the Hesse Police. In an Apple Area, police apps are jointly developed and adapted to the needs of the police. The business location of North Rhine-Westphalia also benefits indirectly: together with a start-up founded by the University of Duisburg-Essen, the latest cloud technologies are being tested in the Innovation Lab.

Under the leadership of the State Office for Central Police Services (LZPD), more than 100 people have set up the 4.3 million laboratory: Computer scientists, physicists, electricians, an interior designer, business graduates, engineers, construction technicians, business IT specialists and police officers. "In future, the creative minds of the police will be based here - including a robotics expert, for example," said Reul.

The Innovation Lab is part of the digital strategy of the North Rhine-Westphalian police force. The aim is to drive forward the digitalization of the police force and make it robustly equipped for digital challenges.

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