Archive for category Fire detection

Midnight Warehouse Fire

The robot rolled along on its regular patrol. Down to the loading dock, through the shipping area, up and down the aisles of the warehouse that made up the bulk of its responsibility, and then along the north wall between the warehouse and the office area. The robot had already automatically adjusted its patrol route, because there were several large pallets awaiting shipment on Wednesday morning.  These pallets had over $100,000 worth of custom product ready to go out to a key customer to meet a tight deadline, but the robot did not know that.

The robot also didn’t know that the loading dock door had jammed this morning. So all day the door repair guys had been hammering, welding, cutting away sections of track to get the door fixed by close of business. What nobody knew was that several chunks of red hot metal had landed in the sawdust from the packing area, and a small fire was slowly smoldering.

Chicago warehouse fire

It wasn’t really midnight yet, but you know how the media will stretch the truth for a good headline. To be precise it was only 10:53 and 11.45 seconds. The robot is very precise.

As the robot rolled into the shipping area, the sensors of its FireWatcher™ system(1) detected an increase in combustion by-products. The robot slowed down and began to scan. Equipped with an advanced thermal sensor, it was reading 8 channels of temperature data three times a second, and it detected a slight temperature rise over by the newly repaired garage door. It quickly calculated the best path to get there and began zeroing in on the heat source.

It rolled closer, and the smoke sensors it carried started reading a level that crossed its alarm threshold. It also picked up the increased temperature , and it began detecting the combustible gasses associated with a smoldering fire. It went into fire alarm mode!

Electronic messages flew over the internet, to both the monitoring company and to Steve, the business owner. Along with the digital alarms, the robot sent video of the exact location of the small fire. Steve logged directly into the robot from his house 40 miles away, and could read the temperatures and smoke sensor levels, and see what the robot was sending in real time video. But he didn’t really need to worry about the numbers – the robot had detected a fire in the making, and he trusted the robot. The ceiling mounted smoke detectors hadn’t activated yet – it can take a while for the low levels of smoke to travel in a large warehouse. And, of course, if the fire got big enough the sprinkler systems would activate – saving the building but playing havoc with all the product on the warehouse shelves. As any professional fire fighter will tell you – the second best time to put out a fire is when it is really small. The best time is before it starts.

Steve talked with the monitoring company and they decided to activate the fire suppression system on the robot(2). While Steve sent the command to the robot, the monitoring center was coordinating with the local fire department and the trucks were on their way.  The robot used its temperature sensors to position itself at the right distance from the fire, and triggered its on-board fire extinguisher. The foam doused the smoldering fire, after all it was aimed by a robot using advanced artificial intelligence to calculate the best application point. Before the fire department arrived the fire was out.  As the fire trucks pulled up, the owner was on his way down to the building, and everything was under control.

So, in the end – no big headlines for the morning paper, no customer getting a call about a delayed shipment, and no need to activate the ‘business continuity’ plans.  Wednesday would be just another day at work, except they were going to have a party in the break room for the robot.

 


Where is your robot?™ Ours are keeping lives and property safe! Learn more at Gamma 2 Robotics


(1) The FireWatcher™ system is not intended to replace any fire detection system required by local fire codes or insurance. It is an additional system that augments required systems. FireWatcher™ is an available option for all Vigilant series security robots.

(2) The fire suppression system is currently under development at Gamma 2 Robotics, and will be available soon. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay current with all the ongoing development.


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Learning about Security Robots and Physical Security

We have been invited to an exciting event – the Physical Security Showcase and Luncheon hosted by the Kansas City chapter of ASIS International on June 05, 2014.

Security robots and janitorial workers sharing the corridor on the night shift.

Security robots and janitorial workers sharing the corridor on the night shift.

We will do an educational talk about real world applications of mobile robotics in the security field – what is possible, and what is still science fiction. As experts in the field of Security Robotics we believe that it is critical to have the knowledge to separate the hype from the reality. This is key to making informed decisions about the real benefits of putting security robots to work.

We will be one session of several focusing on cutting edge technology and culminating with a presentation by the FBI on “FBI Security Technology as related to Investigations” By FBI Supervisor Patricia Sola.

So, if you are in the Kansas City area – this is the event to attend! If you are not in the KC area – you should get here for this event! Besides – we will have Gamma 2 Robotics Vigilant Mobile Security Robots on display!

 

Where is your robot?  Ours will be invading Kansas City for the Physical Security Showcase in June!

Learn more about our technology

 

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Threat Level: Elevated

Mobile robot patrolling garage

The Vigilus Mobile Camera Platform Robot on patrol in a warehouse in Denver, CO. The security robot is manufactured by Vigilant Robots.

The Vigilus® security robot went on duty at 19:00.
It powered up, and ran a complete set of self-diagnostic tests. It logged that it was at 99.6% effectiveness.Its job was to provide security patrols until 08:00 tomorrow, covering the electronics warehouse and the front office. It would move between these two areas of the building automatically, and scan for intruders, smoke or fire, and any unexpected movement in the space.

For a human this would be a cold and lonely shift, and it would take strong discipline to stay alert and focused.  And, of course, the human would require relief after only  eight to ten hours, while the security robot could do the thirteen hour patrol, and still have battery reserves to handle any incidents.

The business owner knew that according to the most recent published police reports, there had been a series of break-ins in the neighborhood.  They involved people coming through high windows in the warehouses, and leaving through the garage door with all the loot.  In many cases the doors were alarmed, but the windows (over eight feet from the ground) were not. So the alarms went off when the garage doors were opened, but by then the thieves were on their way out.

High windows are often vulnerable, and may not be included in the alarm system.

High windows are often vulnerable, and may not be included in the alarm system.

She quickly selected the patrol schedule that spent twice as much time in the warehouse side of the building, and run the high-visibility patrols, which would cause the robot to activate its headlights when patrolling by the windows. The robot logged the new instructions and went to work, focusing its patrols on the areas that were most at risk. After the crime patterns changed, the owner would request a new pattern of patrols – targeted for the exact types of activity for the area.

As all Security Managers know, the world is constantly changing and it is critical to be able to react to changing conditions.  Threats come and go, and resources must be deployed in response to today’s conditions not last month’s or last year’s situation.  But keeping current with the changing threat profiles can be a lot of work, and can lead to new challenges for the security team. With fixed sensors and cameras, it can be impossible to adapt to changes on a week by week basis, yet we all know that our systems should adapt to the current conditions. As simply as a Security Manager might tell Bob “There have been a number of break-ins on the warehouse side around here, so pay extra attention the back;” the security robot can adapt its patrols in response to current threats.  As it happened this was a quiet night.  Was it due to the robot activating its headlights every time it went by the windows in the warehouse?

Want to learn more about putting a Vigilus® security robot to work?  Contact Vigilant Robots at +1.303.778.7400, or check out our website!


Where is your robot?®  Ours are made in America by Vigilant Robots

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Lose $75,000 in 18 minutes

That is what these property owners did, when a homeless man got cold and started a fire in their vacant building.

$75,000 gone in an 18 minute puff of smoke.

$75,000 gone in an 18 minute puff of smoke.

This is a risk that grows as the weather gets colder, but it also grows over time.  As people looking for shelter ‘scope out’ a vacant property, they become more comfortable with the risks of breaking in. I talked a little about this in a previous post on the risks of vacant buildings and how security robots can be used to mitigate the risk.


Where is your robot?®  Ours are working to keep lives and property safe!  Check out our website to subscribe to our newsletter.


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