Company Security is Turning to Robots for Extra Eyes and Ears

With security being a serious issue these days, the cost of security personnel for businesses and schools is significant. To address this situation, Cobalt Robotics Inc., based in Palo-Alto, California, created a robot that will enhance building security without needing to cut more weekly paychecks or deal with other personnel issues.

 

The approximately 4-foot tall robots, which look something like large blue and silver bishop playing pieces from a chessboard, are not capable of replacing human security guards. Instead, these little buddies glide around a floor of the building looking for things that might be out of the ordinary, such as people in the office after hours, the sound of a window breaking or possible water leaks.

 

These units are designed for indoor use only. Using a microphone and cameras, audio is detected and people can be videotaped. Whereas wall-mounted security cameras are stationary, these robots with artificial intelligence are mobile. Again, they are not created to replace existing security camera systems but to complement them.

 

The Cobalt Robot has 60 sensors, including daytime, nighttime and wide-angle cameras, ultrasound, lidar and depth sensors. This is the same technology found in  self-driving cars used to sense the vehicle’s external environment.

 

The 2-way video chat and text screen allows a security guard in another part of the building to communicate with the person that the robot has approached. Often, the security guard will ask the person to scan his employee ID badge using the RFID technology found on the front of the robot.

 

Cobalt’s target market is companies with large or complex buildings, such as hospitals, museums, warehouses, office buildings and schools. The company expects to get a portion of the physical security market, which is expected to reach $110 billion within three years.

 

Currently, these innovative devices are in pilot-program mode. Plans for future development include flagging changes in the building and tagging assets, such as computers, TVs, inventory and other devices of value.

 

Investors in this project like the fact that that add additional technology can be added to future models. The robots will not become obsolete because the designers will be able to incorporate new features and keep up with demands of businesses’ growing and changing security needs.

 

Companies that need more security but need to keep the costs under control will find the Cobalt Robots can patrol floors and examine corners, freeing up security personnel for tasks that only humans can do, such as escorting someone from the building or investigate something that the robot communicates as unusual activity.