Written by Todd Kleperis, CEO of Hardcar Security, Robolliance Expert
Inherently, any security professional may see UGVs as a potential threat to long term job security. Rightfully so, as these devices are lining up to patrol large areas, easily braving all weather conditions and never needing a coffee break.
Every night across the United States, about one million ‘person-hours’ are needed for organizations to effectively cover “patrol and report” security missions. The one million hours are typically classified as “dirty, dull and dangerous. They are patrolling tasks of risk, mental fatigue and disfavor that feed a high rate of employee turnover – as much as 300%. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Enter the world of robotics as a service.
Introducing UGVs to security teams should be done with a positive impact on the total situational awareness, being that the UGV does the dull and dirty work that most people really don’t like to do. Showcasing a robot in the rain, snow and sleet should help give security personnel the vision they need to see the whole picture.
Think about it? Robots, like the Earth-based UGVs for security, transformed space patrols. The really adverse situations, like that on the surface of Mars, were overcome and surface exploration became crystal clear and favorable for man. The lunar rover teams are thrilled that they could see daily pictures from the surface of planets in our solar system.
Why shouldn’t security personnel feel the same way? A command center with a positive introduction of the devices is critical to ensure long term success of the deployments. It would be highly recommended to present a list of benefits favoring the UGV’s tasks, including the reduction of potential risk to the security professional.
The UGVs currently on the market use ‘way points’ and ‘pathways’ to determine the best patrol routes. Several factors should be considered when introducing these devices to current security personnel. Bridges, pathways, weather, employee traffic areas, as well as anything else that might play a role or be pertinent.
Frank Tobe, Editor of the Robot Report states “There is no doubt that security robots, particularly indoor office robots providing basic-level fire, smoke, intruder, noise, motion, chemical and other forms of detection are coming to replace low-paid existing security solutions. The metrics are now favoring robots over humans. But these new robots are also coming to do inventories and other indoor space data collection and machine learning and AI Applications. Multipurpose day/night flexible mobile swarms of robots will soon populate critical labs, warehouses, public facilities, trades/expo spaces, offices and parking facilities.”
Technology as an advantage and not as a job killer – most UGVs will still need a team to oversee use on a long term project. For example, most units today still require regular battery replacement. This down time can be as little as 20 minutes, but still leaves a window when the device is not patrolling the facility. Additionally, the role of the UGV is to observe and report at any given time, therefore enabling the security force to respond when needed. The two work hand-in-hand.
Devices in the future will use swarming technology that can never be replicated by security patrols. Imagine if you had 20 devices that all could swarm in on a security threat? The thief might think twice about scaling that fence when he hears that your unit has a team of drones ready to be deployed.
IT Integration – Key to success
Another key advocate group within any organization will be the information technology division of the business. As most UGVs will need to work on a network, or a mesh network, they will still require some internal integration with current systems. Assimilation should include all relevant staff from the beginning of any deployment. Introducing the head of IT to the project will make life easier should you need to work with existing systems or change network protocols to ensure proper deployment of devices in the field.
When IT agrees that robotics are needed for patrol, you can remind them that the five easiest ways to get into a facility are not even on a network.
Five of the easiest ways to hack into a facility:
- Crawling through void spaces in the center walls
- Lock-picking the door
- “Tailgating” into the building (tailing other employees)
- Posing as contractors or service repairman
- Forcing open improperly installed doors or windows.
UGVs do not suffer from fatigue and can routinely check doors, perimeter security and reduce the number of attempts to breach a facility. All of this is done automatically and not by a human.
Ideally, the UGV will patrol on a shift that is similar to a security patrol. Eight hours or longer in the field would result in constant coverage. Most UGVs today are designed for at least this requirement. It would be unrealistic to have any shorter cycle because of the need for human interaction. The cost to touch the device would go up substantially should a shift be less than a regular 8 hour work schedule. The IT group will know the best way forward and will protect the deployment because it has a technology slant that gives them greater access to information.