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Robots are becoming more and more involved in security missions. These person-sized devices roll around corporate offices, equipped with heat sensors, facial detection and employee badge scanners. The robots roam autonomously, looking for signs of trouble, like an unrecognized person entering the building late at night.
Now, new security robots are being used in select cities around the US at venues including malls, hospitals, stadiums and warehouses, raising concern about privacy issues.
The robots, which can reach speeds of up to 3mph, are equipped with five cameras and feed captured patrol data to an internet-based portal which security teams can then use. They are capable of recording license plates, detecting people, capturing thermal imaging, providing 360 degree video, making broadcasts, providing intercom activity and finding mobile devices within a set perimeter.
In New York City, they are in service at housing complexes and LaGuardia Airport so far.
The security robots were created by Knightscope, which claims that any data collected is secured and only visible to the security agency that has rented out the robot. The company claims that they can help scale up law enforcement personnel, according to dailymail.co.uk.
While the robots can be told to stop and what to look for, they do not come with joystick capability allowing human security teams to specifically target or follow individuals.
Despite this fact, residents of areas near where the robots have been deployed worry about the robots being used for nefarious purposes.
Airport security staff in LaGuardia airport scoffed at their new robot counterparts because they were creepy and ineffective. The robots, which had been in use for three months at that point, were meant to help warn off illegal cabdrivers and scammers. Actual security personnel said that the very cabdrivers the robots were supposed to get rid of, just walked around the robots with their new fares.