7 Security Robots “Complementing” Security Guards
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, a security guard’s job is to “guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules” and there are 1.1 million people employed in this capacity through the United States at a mean annual wage of $29,730. Back of the napkin math tells us that the annual cost of guarding things sits at around $32.8 billion a year. In other words, this area is ripe for automation by smart robots. Plenty of startups have taken notice of this opportunity, though they’re
positioning trying to position their offerings as more of a complement to human security guards and not as replacements. We’re going to take a look at 7 of them, including a 4-wheel drive autonomous police robot that ishts drones out of its behind while chasing crooks.
Keep Rollin, Rollin, Rollin
Founded in 2012, Denver startup Gamma 2 Robotics has taken in $3.5 million in funding to develop their security robot RAMSEE that promises to save customers 25% in labor costs and up to 75% if the robot is told to work a 24-hour shift and it agrees to it. The core of the robot is a ‘cybernetic brain’ which is pretty impressive when you consider it works for about $4 an hour. It doesn’t need manual supervision or any remote control, and they claim it’s the only product of its kind that is commercially available at the moment. Of course, if you do want a human-in-the-loop, their patented ROAM (Robot Oversight and Management), makes it capable of being directed locally or even remotely. RAMSEE detects intruders, dangerous emissions and is a video surveillance unit to protect businesses or properties.
It doesn’t go on smoke breaks and you won’t catch it out in the parking lot smoking ganja. Did you know that by the time a security guard is recruited, background checked, drug tested, and trained, they are only on the job for an average of 8 weeks before the position turns over?
It’s Not a Robot Dude, It’s Art
Founded in 2016, Silicon valley startup Cobalt Robotics has taken in an undisclosed amount of funding to develop their uber-stylish Cobalt security robot which was featured in our article on 7 Cool Robots that are Way Cooler than You. Namely, it’s not a scary-looking huge robot that makes you want to run. It actually looks like a contemporary piece of art, which is not just comforting – it also provides a 95% security rate of catching anomalies.
That means it reads situations, people and objects to evaluate whether or not they belong. It then sends a signal (when an anomaly happens) to a human counterpart for them to evaluate themselves. It’s a double-duty sensor, integrating robot and human for safety measures. Someone over at Wired spent the night with one over at Yelp this summer, and the interesting account that followed is worth a read.
Update 06/25/2019: Cobalt Robotics has raised $36.8 million in Series B funding to continue expanding across the United States. This brings the company’s total funding to $53.3 million to date.
Play it Again, SAM
Founded in 2013, Dutch startup Robotic Security Systems has taken in an undisclosed amount of funding to develop their mobile security robot called SAM (stands for Secure, Autonomous, and Mobile). The robot is designed to protect and secure empty rooms, like data centers, logistics centers, and parking garages. Its beady little robot eyes can distinguish between people and rodents with thermal sensors that can detect even the smallest part of a human body that may be trying to hide from it. SAM also has a built-in alarm system which can contact the police, fire department or the owner – instantly.
He also checks for faults in air purity and any building faults that might cause harm. One beauty about SAM is that when it’s on-off time, it recharges itself. No fuss, no muss. Recently, Robotic Security Systems has been partnering with Sodexo for a test run to keep an eye on parking lots.
Robots in the Clouds
Funded by Japanese companies like Fuji and Cyberdyne, Rapyuta Robotics was spun out of the Swiss Federal Institute in 2014. This Japanese startup has taken in nearly $13 million in funding to delve into new territory with cloud robotics. Reading through their available collateral makes us think of startups like Airobotics which is developing a platform that lets drones fly continuously or CloudMinds which is developing robot intelligence in the clouds. Rapyuta was selected for the Softbank Innovation Program (SIP) in April of this year which shows they’re mingling with the right people should they decide to raise more funding. Come to think of it, we didn’t even see one mention on their website of security applications for their platform, so maybe our MBA who researched this list was just really high at the time. Speaking of which.
When Security Guards Get High
Founded in 2014, San Jose startup Aptonomy has taken in just $620,000 in funding to develop a drone that flies over your business or property while scanning for any problems, like intruders. It also provides you with a video feed and facial recognition, just in case you need to contact authorities because your ex is stalking you again. With infra-red, chemical and anti-drone sensors, you can be updated up to the minute of what is happening within your property in real-time – which should come in handy if you happen to live on the outskirts of Bagdhad. It also comes with loads of other bells and whistles as seen below:
With a flight time of 25-35 minutes and a charge time of 45 minutes, you’d need at least three of them and a platform like the one Rapyuta is working on in order to have these flying security guards provide surveillance 24-7. While it definitely seems like the future of security guarding, we’re more interested in how many are actually being sold given that they’re likely to encounter regulatory problems when trying to operate autonomous drones at nighttime.
Founded in 2014, Silicon Valley startup Knightscope has taken in just over $40 million in funding so far with about half of that coming from a successful equity crowdfunding raise. The offering was a “Reg A+” which means they could raise up to $50 million from private investors but only if they are accredited. Here is the suicidal robot which a lot of folks decided to put their money into:
We’ve all felt like pulling a Peter Pan out of the office window at some point in our illustrious careers, and it looks like the robots feel the same way.
The robot seen above is Knightscope’s K5, and there are some jokes going around about how it resembles a Doctor Who Dalek. While that is true, at over 300 pounds it’s truly a force to be reckoned with. It’s a parking lot monitor that checks out all of the dark, lonely places or even people who are illegally parking in your lot, all while reading nearly 300 license plates a minute. And when it identifies something off, it immediately contacts you (the owner) and the authorities to take a look. Knightscope is in 5 states, with 19 clients – including Microsoft, the Sacramento Kings, and Konica Minolta, Inc. We may do a company profile article on Knightscope in the future so we can take a closer look at their entire offering of robotic security guards, not just the suicidal ones.
Autonomous Police Cars with Drones
Founded in 2015, Otsaw Digital is a subsidiary of a 400-employee Singapore-based firm called Activ Technology. With offices around the world, their various products include a telepresence robot we covered last year called Double. One of their products, the O-R3, is the ‘world’s first ground-aerial outdoor security robot’. It’s a dynamic duo: a self-driving vehicle with 4-wheel drive and a drone to break out for the sticky spots the vehicle can’t reach. The nice part: the regular security guards can not only monitor, but take over manually if need be.
Equipped with LiDAR, HD cameras, and thermal cameras, the vehicle can launch drones out of its rear-end as situations demand. According to Business Insider UK, the robots will begin policing the streets of Dubai by the end of 2017 with the intent to have robots account for 25% of the Dubai police force by 2030.
These are just a handful of startups building security robots, and we can expect new ones to pop up left and right as time goes on and people realize just how big the opportunity is here. If we “missed” your really cool robot security startup that is running in stealth mode, drop us a note in the comments section below and we’ll add you to our growing list of security robot startups. If any of you MBAs out there want to jump into the fray, check out our past article on How to Build Security Drones. You’re welcome.
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