Vigilus MCP security robots were on display at the World Trade Day 2013 event in Denver, CO yesterday.
What is the difference be between a security robot and a well designed monitored security camera system?*
At Vigilant Robots we sell mobile security robots. These are autonomous robots that can be assigned specific patrols in warehouses, office buildings, event centers to provide midnight shift monitoring. They are designed to function when the facility is closed to the public, and after the workers have gone home, working in conjunction with the existing security to provide additional monitoring and support.
Cost pressures are forcing security managers to look for technology to augment their security teams. One option is to rely on remotely monitored security cameras and perimeter sensors, and in many cases this is an effective strategy. However, often the layout of the facility or the need for more detailed observation led to the decision for active patrols, and those needs may not be met with remote monitoring alone.
Keep in mind that we are focusing on security systems with monitored video. If the video is simply recording for forensic analysis there is no comparison. Sure, after the robbery you will be able to replay the video, and (with luck) get an image of the thief – but that is long after they are gone with the goods. Also, given the number of high-profile, high-value thefts where the thieves simply avoided the cameras, you may not even have that.
So, what are the advantages of an autonomous security robot on patrol?
Three significant advantages come quickly to mind. All are based on the idea that the security robot can be deployed to specific locations and that the security robot can monitor, detect, and alert the security officers to problems.
The first is the ability to deliver a camera where you need it, when you need it. Modern cameras are incredibly sophisticated but they still require line of sight. In complex spaces, it can be cost prohibitive to deploy enough cameras to cover all the hallways, aisles, and corners of the space. With a security robot on patrol, you have a roving eye, that gets up close and personal. Rather than using a wall or ceiling mounted camera to try to pan, tilt and zoom to get a good view – you can send the robot right to the spot, and have a close-up high resolution view to inform the security officer of the current situation.
The second is that the robot can carry additional sensors (thermal, motion, smoke, gas, etc.) and send alerts to the SOC to let them know that there is a problem. As you know, attention fatigue is a serious problem for security officers staring at a bank of monitors – the robots do not suffer from this. With the addition of thermal scanners, motion detectors, and other sensors the security robot becomes a formidable intrusion detection system.
Finally, the presence of of mobile security officer is a deterrent in itself – the bad guys can’t predict where the officer is at any given time so they are more likely to pick another target. The same is true for the mobile security robot, only more so. We are all aware of the deterrent effect of signs for security alarms, monitored security, video surveillance, and so on. Ho much more of a deterrent is the notification that an area is patrolled by security robots?
So we think there is significant value to augmenting the security team with mobile security robots.
Where’s your security robot? Ours are manufactured by Vigilant Robots, in Colorado.
*This is based on a discussion in the Private Security Professionals group on LinkedIn.
A recent article on the new EU funded “Human Brain Project”
Of course the US recently completed the “Decade of the Brain” with limited results,
In a speech several years ago, the ‘father of industrial robots,’ Joe Engleberger suggests that much of the current research is headed in the wrong direction. He suggested that the right direction is where we are now – security robots!
Great post by PETER HARTLAUB (the pop culture critic at the San Francisco Chronicle): Lie, Robot: I’m still waiting for my android butler
All I can say is we’re working on it!
Is this the public perception of robots in everyday life?
Robots as attractive, dangerous, inhuman, immortal? Will they be guardians, and if so, of what? Is this Terminator in a black dress?
For a security team the critical question is how to provide high quality security without breaking the bank. With an unlimited budget, the security manager would still face challenges, but the job of meeting the client’s needs would be easier. Unfortunately, an unlimited budget is not in the picture, and many clients see security as an expense that needs to be reduced. That means the security manager needs to provide high levels of protection on a diminishing budget. In short, do more with less.
How can a security robot help? The key is the nature of an autonomous security robot. It is capable of acting as a force multiplier. Unlike a robot that must be driven by a highly trained (and expensive) technician, an autonomous security robot can operate on its own. It can take care of routine security tasks, such as midnight shift patrols, freeing up the security officers to focus on the tasks for which human intelligence and judgement are needed.
At Vigilant Robots, we envision security robots as teammates, extending the capabilities of the existing security team. We see three major contributions:
- extending the range of the security team,
- extending the capabilities of the team, and
- extending the density of the security coverage.
Extending the range of the security team
Providing around the clock security is an expensive proposition. It can be challenging to hire, train, and retain qualified security officers. This is especially true when covering the midnight shift is concerned. While many clients would like to have constant patrols in their facility at night, they may not have the budget. Adding security robots to this shift is a powerful tool. The robots do not care if it is 3am or 3pm, they will do the same work. They do not get bored, nor are the reluctant to do the same patrol over and over. They are ideal for the “dead of night” tasks that must be done. This has the added benefit of freeing up trained security officers to be assigned to other shifts, where their skills and capabilities are more valuable.
Extending the capabilities of the security team
Since a security robot is an intelligent electromechanical system, adding additional sensors can extend the capabilities of the security team. A robot thinks nothing of being asked to take constant readings on its rounds. Where a human officer would have to be loaded down with devices to measure temperature, humidity, carbon-monoxide, explosive gas, etc., these options can easily be added to the security robot, and it will take and log these detailed measurements every few inches, if that is what the client needs. It will also generate immediate alarms if any readings indicate a problem.
Extending the density of the security coverage
What do you do when a security officer needs to be in two places at once? When she needs to be covering the lobby at the same time that there is a door alarm by the loading dock? Send the robot, of course! Since an autonomous security robot does not need to be driven around, it can be as easy as “Robot, go to the loading dock, notify me when you get there, and scan the east door.” That will cause the robot to put its current task on hold, figure out the best way to get to the loading dock, get itself there, and start relaying high definition video of the situation. Your security officer is virtually in two places at once. Or the robot could be told to cover the lobby and alert on any motion, while the security officer heads down to the loading dock to deal with the incident. Either way the effective security coverage is doubled.
Security Force Multipliers
We see a valuable role in the security industry for autonomous security robots. The technology is available, and the need is significant. Putting these robots to work can have multiple benefits including
- increased quality and coverage provided by the security team,
- increased responsiveness of the team, and
- more effective use of the available assets
And this can be accomplished in a cost effective, reliable way. We have a short white paper discussing this in more detail, for a free copy submit the form below.
Where is your robot? Ours are manufactured by Vigilant Robots, here in Colorado.
Wall Street Journal article on Driverless Cars:
“Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles already has 22 pages of rules for driverless vehicles, and has licensed Google, Audi, and Continental AG to test them on public roads. The vehicles must undergo 10,000 hours of testing on closed tracks and testers must put up a bond of at least $1 million to cover any potential liabilities.”
A key to the green solar revolution is keeping efficiency high, and that means clean panels. Now there is a commercially available cleaning robot designed for the solar market.
Report on robots tonight on CBS 60 minutes: