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MHA To Set Up HTX Agency By Dec 2019 – Will Use AI, Robots To Aid In Operations

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will be creating a new Science & Technology Agency under the Home Team this year, dubbed “HTX”.

The new statutory board was announced by Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo in Parliament earlier today. The agency was first mentioned by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat during his Budget 2019 speech back in February.

The initial team will comprise of 1,300 science and technology officers from various Home Team departments, and is expected to be set up by December 2019.

“HTX will build cutting-edge and transformative capabilities that will augment the Home Team far beyond our 27,000 regular and 54,000 National Service and volunteer officers,” Ms Teo said.

In her speech, Ms Teo also listed several examples of how HTX will support the Home Team — emergency calls, for example, could be transcribed and logged more efficiently using Artificial Intelligence, and unmanned systems can also help reduce risk to Civil Defence Force officers responding to incidents.

HTX will also be working with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to develop their “New Clearance Concept”, a new surveillance method that uses technology like biometrics and smart sensors to identify potential threats without causing inconvenience to travellers.

Ms Teo added that HTX will not only improve Home Team’s technological capabilities, but support other government agencies who have similar needs as well.

“Having a single agency in the Home Team to develop systems and solutions will ensure coherent technical architecture and interoperability across our many systems,” she said.

Header Image Credit: Ministry Of Home Affairs, Singapore

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