Selecting the best security robot for your application
A relatively new yet proven technology
Robotics is one of those newer security industry categories that have been around a few years now and that currently seem to be recognized as a sustainable category that represents an innovative, emerging and promising new advancement in technology. When speaking to vendors that have been around a few years now, like SMP Robotics, it is becoming clear that in recent years serious and well performing applications have been built.
Security robots are used for patrolling, assessing potentially dangerous situations, detecting hazardous or contagious gasses or substances, reconnaissance missions, visual inspections and all kinds of other applications where applying robotics make sense. Usually these applications have one of more of the following characteristics:
- The conditions are harsh or difficult for humans to endure consistently.
- The task at hand is meticulous and difficult for humans to perform at the required level consistently.
- That situation is too dangerous and poses too much of a risk to endanger human lives.
- Humans are simply not capable to perform the required task.
Deploying a robotic solution is not to be considered a gadget or just a nice cheeky way to get some attention from clients of the press. Although robotics may still appeal to the imagination of many, we would be falling these vendors short of we would not recognize the fact that at this moment in all continents serious security related application are utilizing the added value of robotic technologies. And why would that be surprising? If robots are capable to run the largest logistic and distribution centres in the world, why would they not be able to perform security tasks? Of course there will be many situation and applications in which humans excel, but why not acknowledge the reality of the added value of robots in security applications.
The universal robot
The experience of vendors and clients that use robotic technology seems to indicate that there is no such thing as one universal type of robot that will perform any task at the required level of performance. One thing that all robotic solutions have in common is that they are all a result of very smart and sophisticated integration in the most cutting-edge technologies that are currently available. Robots depend on AI, smart software algorithms, the best cameras, video analytics, new sensing technologies, online communication interfaces, breakthrough mechanical constructions and years of high-level research and engineering by the brightest minds in our world. But among robotic solutions there are also many differences in appearance, capabilities, technology and design.
Robots can be large or small. They can walk, drive, fly or perform their tasks stationary. They can excel in communication with humans or refrain from human interaction. They can operate standalone or collaborate with other systems or robots. They can operate autonomously or rely on clear directions and respond to input. They can be designed to operate indoors or outdoors. Some can find their way on bumpy roads and off-road routes, some prefer stating on a clear and even pathway.
If the universal robot that can do everything and is suitable foe every application and in any situation does not exist, what are the characteristics to look for when finding the best robotic solution for your security application? Let’s review some of these characteristics of current security robots.
Can the robot override obstacles of specific height? Is the robot capable of work on pavement, snow, gravel, grass, puddles, metal grates, mud or small debris?
Temperature and weather resistant
Can the robot work in any weather condition? Is the robot capable to deal with heat? What are the operating temperatures? Is a specific IP rating (for example IP 65) required?
How many years of warranty are provided by the supplier? Is mileage limited under warranty? What are the conditions for warranty? Is it possible to extend the warranty? Is the RMA process adequate and clear?
Is the robot procured or is a Robot-as-a-Service model available (RaaS). What is the contract duration? What are the conditions?
Time between battery charges
How long can the robot perform its role autonomous? If the task of patrolling, what can be the autonomous shift duration? What mileage can be covered in that time?
Battery recharge time
How much time does it take to get the batteries of the robot recharged fully?
Is the robot sufficiently capable to navigate autonomously? What technology is used to assist the robot in navigating and dealing with moving objects around it? Is there a GPS system? A GPS correction system? Inertial navigation? Ultrasonic sensors? Lidar sensors? Motion sensors? Stereo pairs?
Programming and configuration
How is the robot set up to perform its task? How difficult is it to carry out the configuration or adapt it? Is remote control or re-configuration possible?
Is the robot capable of collaboration with other robots? Is group patrolling possible? Is swarm intelligence supported?
What are the visual capabilities of the robot? What video output formats are available? What interfaces are supported? ONVIF and RTSP streaming? Is night vision supported? Facial recognition? Object monitoring? PTZ cameras? Can intruders be followed?
Versatility and specific application compliance
Based on the characteristics mentioned above, combined with additional specifications and requirements, you should be able to select the best robotic solution for your application. To get started we advise you to look at the solutions of our first class vendor SMP Robotics.