Posted by: robotnews | April 3, 2007

OFRO – First outdoor security patrol robot


OFRO is not only the first mobile security robot worldwide used for outdoor surveillance, it also has the honour of being one of the first robots used to patrol the stadium in the World Cup. The picture to the right is of the OFRO being used in the Olympic stadium in Berlin. In that particular World Cup event, the OFRO is used alongside of another robot, the MOSRO, and both these models of surveillance robots are developed by the Berlin company Robowatch.

The OFRO can perform many functions. It is able to make use of thermal cameras to identify and locate intruders at night or at any places where visibility is low, according to their body heat. The OFRO can also be used for a wide variety of other reasons such as in the military as a scout and to detect radiation, toxins, viruses and chemical warfare agents. It is also very flexible being very much weather-proof and mobile so it is suitable to be dispatched either indoors or outdoors. It is also suitable to be used in hazard zones such as in the chemical industry or in explosive areas.

In the World Cup, the OFRO got navigation help from the Global Positioning System satellites and send pictures back to a central room in the stadium called the skybox. Through remote control, the OFRO can also be sent to check on anything suspicious.

In general, the sensor head of the OFRO is able to rotate 360° automatically with integrated thermo camera. It also has two ultrasound distance sensors, GSM module and WLAN built in. With highly sensitive sensor technology, it is able to identify intruders and react quickly. Timely action can be taken in terms of activation by a wireless signal from the OFRO.

http://www.virtualworldlets.net/Archive/IndividualNews.php?News=1311
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13485246/

Goh Pei Ming
U049117N

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Responses

  1. Lin Changjie U036185J

    I think besides surveillance, the OFRO and MOSRO should be equipped with the ability to immobilize the intruders eg small arms or tranqulizers. It will then be more effective and create more time for responsive action to be taken. Perhaps a sound sensor can also be added to detect any strange noises.

  2. U036796E Lim Ruo Qi

    Wow! I did not know that the robots were used during the World Cup last year.
    After reading the article, what struck me most was that the company mentioned that the purpose of the robot is not only to survey difficult to see areas, but also to take over ‘boring’ duties.
    I think this really underscores a critical advantage of robots, that they do not have ’emotions’. Whereupon security guards may get careless after a long day of ‘boring’ duty, robots have very consistent performance.

  3. Goh Pei Ming U049117N

    I read somewhere that the robot is actually very mobile so I think it is actually able to give chase after the intruder. That aside, the main advantage of the robot is that it is able to give alerts and take instructions after an intruder is detected. By the way, the wireless signal sent by the robots can be used to activate other surrounding security robots/apparatus to mobilize measures to prevent the intruder from escaping, etc. This is what is meant by timely action. So I guess the measures to immobilize the intruders can exist as separate units.

  4. Htun Lin Oo U059294W

    I can’t help wondering why traction chains are used for OFRO’s locomotion. For security and surveillance purposes, wouldn’t it help if the robot can’t be heard from like a mile away in a concrete floor environment? I’d prefer large wheels on the OFRO. Perhaps the robot may even be able to achieve higher top speeds. I think a flexible and expandable sensor support would greatly extend the usability of the OFRO also.

  5. Htun Lin Oo U059294W

    I can’t help wondering why traction chains are used for OFRO’s locomotion. For security and surveillance purposes, wouldn’t it help if the robot can’t be heard from like a mile away in a concrete floor environment? I’d prefer large wheels on the OFRO. Perhaps the robot may even be able to achieve higher top speeds. I think a flexible and expandable sensor support would greatly extend the usability of the OFRO also.

  6. Azhar Risyad Sunaryo u037028m

    Hmmm I am not sure about the traction chain, may be it is used so that the robot can move in uneven terrain? Just guessing though.

    Yeah, I also did not know about this robot being used in the last World Cup, but this is very cool 😀 with this, the person inside the “skybox” will be able to inspect a very crowded place in the stadium without being cramped by the crowd ahahaha.

    Maybe this robot can be equipped with some gadgets such as “trash collector” or “fire extinguisher”? just playing with my imagination hehe

  7. I wonder what will happen if some passer-by find it to be interesting and decided to take them home. Will it be able to protect themselves?

    Tng Thomson U046231A

  8. To Tng Thomsom: The answer will depend on the context actually. In some cases where minimal security standards are placed, the least that can happen would be that the control station will be able to identify such passer-bys. Also, since the robot is actually quite big I think, it would be a little bulky and intimidating for people to just take for fun I guess.

    In other cases where it is used to guard and protect goods, there will usually be added protection to prevent the intruder from actually getting hold of the goods. These added protection will react quickly and can be very hostile.

    I do agree that defense and attack mechanisms would be very helpful but with that comes the additional responsibility to ensure that enough control is maintained so that accidents do not happen. Also, such robots are mainly developed for surveillance and dealing with emergency situations where anything can happen might encumber the overall mobility and response time. Just an opinion. Thanks for all the comments though.

    Goh Pei Ming
    U049117N

  9. To Azhar Risyad Sunaryo :
    I do agree that it isn’t exactly built for stealth though I know that this robot does have a second evolution developed mainly for military purposes called OFRO +detect. This robot’s outlook provides much more camouflage with the natural environment. I am not sure if they actually try reducing the noise caused by traction chains or if there is such noise in the first place. However, I assume that the robots move like tanks and the major advantage of this is to facilitate its role as an outdoor surveillance robot in providing maximum control in manuevering uneven terrains much like tanks whereas in wheeled vehicles, there is always the possibility of wheels being caught in ruts and ditches.

    Goh Pei Ming
    U049117N

  10. Oops sorry, addressed the previous comment to the wrong person. Should be to Htun Lin Oo. Sincere apologies to Azhar Risyad Sunaryo and really thanks people for all the comments!!

    Goh Pei Ming
    U049117N

  11. To Tng Thomson: Hmm…just an added comment about the speed of the robot. The robot can travel up to 7.2 km/hr which makes anybody taking it for fun literally impossible. haa.

    Goh Pei Ming
    u049117N

  12. Interesting, I saw this in the internet. It is great because the robot does not need to worry that it is getting dark. Probably better than human guard as human guard would lose their attention sometimes, while the robot will always be able to detect any intruder and alarm the police. That would be a great application guarding residence area, too
    Li Chao U037130N


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