Is a Robot’s Place in the Security Industry?
When I think of a robot, my mind automatically goes to Star Wars. Whether it is the old school C-3PO or R2-D2, or even BB-8 from the newest movie, that’s what I think of. In the movies, these bots were intelligent and loyal, but I never thought of them being anything other than a companion; a machine dependent on their owner.
In the real world, the uses for robots has come a lot further than what people would have believed possible for 2016. In Japan, there is a hotel run primarily by robots that check you in, carry your luggage and even deliver your room service to you. Across the world there are machines building cars and appliances and now, we have them entering into the security industry.
Security robots have been in the news for quite some time, in April I wrote about the unveiling of China’s first robot security guard, Bot. The robot can auto-patrol, recharge itself and electrocute those who are not following the laws. For intents and purposes, the robot can patrol an area on its own (Although it does have a feature that allows someone to remotely use the machine if needed.) without the supervision of an owner.
Since the unveiling of Bot, machines similar to its makeup have been popping up around the country. Most notably in San Francisco where Uber hired a robot to patrol it’s parking garage. The robot, a 300-pound product of Silicon Valley start-up Knightscope is a stand-in for a human security guard at the facility.
In addition to the security bots at malls, parking structures and colleges in the United States, a robot of a different kind has made the headlines within the last week.
On the night of July 7, members of Dallas’ DART security and Dallas Police Department were gunned down while guarding protestors during a peaceful rally held for the Black Lives Matter movement. Police were able to corner the gunman in a parking garage, but the man continued to shoot at police creating a standoff between the suspect and the police for over two hours, despite negotiations.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown gave an order to his SWAT team to end the standoff. He told them to come up with a creative plan to neutralize the threat while also ensuring that no other officer would lose his life that night.
Chief Brown said the idea came to his team within a 15 to 20 minute timeframe while he was updating the public on the current situation at a press conference. When he returned, the SWAT team told him they would use a robot to detonate a bomb near the suspect, hopefully succeeding at the task Chief Brown had ordered them to complete.
The SWAT team had decided to use DPD’s Rometec Androx Mark V A-1, a robot the department had in their possession for a while. The plan was to load the robot up with about a pound of C-4, back up the robot behind the wall where the suspect had been cornered and without him knowing, detonate the bomb.
The plan worked successfully. The suspect in the shooting that had killed 5 and wounded 6 more was finally downed about 3 hours after the first shot rang out between the tall buildings of downtown Dallas.
This event begs the question, though: Will we be seeing more robots in situations such as these? When a shooter has every intent of injuring, or even killing, more people, will it become common place for a robot to take the place of a police officer, or a SWAT team member?
What are your thoughts on the use of a robot during the Dallas shooting? Do you think that robots will become a more commonplace security guard around the country? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or tweet me @SecProdsSydny.
Posted by Sydny Shepard on Jul 13, 2016