Posted by: robotnews | April 1, 2006

A Human-Like Semi Autonomous Mobile Security Robot

U0204840 Lin Ming Zheng

The Mechatronics Group of the University of Waikato has developed a fleet of five mobile robots capable of autonomous operation. These robots are design to move on a variety of terrains including farms, forests, underwater and smooth indoor surfaces. MARVIN (Mobile Autonomous Robotic Vehicle for Indoor Navigation) is designed to act as a security agent for indoor environments. They are able to interact with people who may have little or no knowledge of robotic devices. This interaction must be made as natural as possible in order for the human to be comfortable communicating with MARVIN. To facilitate this, MARVIN has been substantially redesigned and provided with speech recognition and speech synthesis software as well as the ability to verbally and non-verbally convey emotional states. These emotion states can include actions like nodding or shaking of the head.

MARVIN is also equipped with different sensors to allow it to avoid obstacles. Different sensors are used to detect obstacles at different distance (short, intermediate and long). In operation, MARVIN scans its environment, waiting until it has detected a dynamic (moving) obstacle. Once this is confirmed, the laser ranger can help determine if this dynamic feature is possibly a human. If so, MARVIN approaches the “moving obstacle” and interrogates it. If it is a human, MARVIN expects an identification card to be shown. It then searches its database to find the owner of this card, and will prompt the user for his password. MARVIN will try three times to elicit the password from the user. If unsuccessful, MARVIN will become more aggressive (see diagram), and demand the user leave the premises. Although not implemented at this stage, the plan is for MARVIN to also notify a remote human security agent via the on-board wireless LAN that an intrusion has taken place, and send a picture of the intruder.

I think that this system is useful as a security agent. When multiple robots are used, this can serve as an efficient way to patrol a large area. However there is still a need for a human security guard to oversee the entire operation as unexpected situations may arise if an intruder behaves abnormally.

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Responses

  1. U0204511 Tan Chin Hiong

    I was curious about the robot getting “agressive”. From the pictures, I don’t see any hands on the robot. So I would like to know what kinds of agressive actions the robot will take? Personally, I feel that the robot should have some way of restraining the suspect until a human security personnel can come to the scene to validate the situation.

  2. This post has been removed by the author.

  3. u0204569 Tan Wen Pin

    I agree. Can the robot “chase” any hostile targets ? What if the hostile personnel tries to outrun it ? Trapping the unrecognised personnel may not be a good idea afterall. In an mistaken identity situation, authorised personnels may be trapped or even harmed when the robot fails to recognise the personnel.

  4. Lin MIng Zheng U0204840

    I think this is when a real human security guard is required. As mentioned in my post, I feel that the robot cannot replace the human security guard. Once an intruder is detected, it will inform the human security guard for further action. However, I think it can do a good job in patrolling and recognising possible intruders.

  5. U0206727 – Rajen Suchede

    Certainly an interesting invention. What I dont get is the need for such a robot. Its certainly going to be expensive with the wide array of features mentioned in the post such as speech recognition and graphic recognition and database searching. A security gaurd patrolling the premises, confronting intruders would not suffice? Like the others mention, all it does is interact with ther intruders by requesting an ID and its mobility is limited to patrolling. Also, how dynamic is this robot? What if the person trying to enter is a authenticated user but is trying to explain to the robot that he has lost his ID? I guess the robot can incorporate biometrics. But that again makes it more expensive. Hmm..

  6. U0204982-Wang Huiwen Karen
    I guess the need for such robots is when there is a huge area to patrol but there are insufficient human resources or cost to employ people to patrol. This would cut down on costs. Robots getting aggressive sounds a bit scary to me too. There should be someone to monitoring the overall behavior of the robots patrolling.–>

  7. u0204593 Chiam Lee Chuan

    I think it’s a great idea to replace human security guards with robots. Comparatively, robots would be more effective than human as in terms of vision, the robots being better equiped with senors are able to patrol with greater coverage and more details. There wouldn’t be any coffee breaks required for the robots and any limbs lost during conflicts could be easily replace. Moreover, indivdual robots could be more easily linked up to form a security network and thus collectively are more effective as comparable to human who most of the time acts as an independent agent.

  8. u0300654 Li Junbin

    Probably the robot gets “aggressive” by moving nearer to the intruder? Actually there’s pros and cons of security robots. The advantage can be employing the robots permanently for night shifts patrolling. This is because security guard doing night shift a very tiring job since most security guards are considerably old.

    The cons of using security robots are mostly highlighted by the comments. Definitely making use of biometrics is able to improve the “features” of the robot. However, being “vigilant” is one of the most important critera to be a capable security guard.

  9. u0303505 Pham Dang Khoa

    Of course this robot cannot replace the security guard totally. It acts as a advanced security camera to detect unauthorised entry. And security guard will be alerted in such a case. Still I think that it is vaey useful since the advanced sensing technology makes it very sensitive to moving object, which a security guard may not be able to do.–>

  10. Name: Ooi Yi Xiang Patrick
    Matriculation Number: U036703E
    Email UserID: u0303375

    Security robots are excellent as they have the advantage of being expendable. Human lives are precious, and that is why we invent robots in the first place. If a security robot “dies”, the only loss is money.

    Losing a real human guard/policeman/soldier hurts many times more because of the emotional loss as well as the loss of the time & money invested in training such a person.

    Robots can just be pre-programmed and they are also able to learn new things “on the job” with the advancements in AI and machine learning nowadays. A “good and experienced” security robot can have its vast database of experience copied to a fresh new robot, drastically reducing training time and expenditure for new “recruits”.

  11. U0308283 Wu Chengyu

    Relying on robots to do security? that sounds like a bad idea to me! Yes although robots are more alert and can be equipped visuals stronger than humans, but as mentioned, robots may not be that good when dealing with intruders. An intruder can perhaps simply scale a low wall or fence and the robot is left helpless. Whats worst? with the number and intelligence of todays hackers, i really question how much can we rely on them to protect or installations. They may be turned into tools of crimes instead if some terrorists found a way to modify their codes! *shivers*–>


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