No conversation about artificial intelligence would be complete without talking about UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles) and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) – more commonly known as robots and drones. These tools hold great promise for the security industry especially as machine learning gets more advanced. They provide a way of taking all of the power of AI and making it mobile by putting it on wheels and in the sky.
That kind of mobility would allow law enforcement and security professionals to send smart machines with sensors and analytics anywhere they are needed. It means they could be sent quickly to remote areas or into situations that may be dangerous or unknown. For example, in the case of an explosion drones could be sent in the air to send back photos of the damage to a command center. While robots or UGV could be sent out to areas to look for survivors and direct them to help.
There still is a lot of work to be done on the analytics needed to get drones and robots to the point they can be consistently reliable. Sensor technology and user training will have to improve and costs and budgets will have to be adjusted. But, that is all happening now. Sensor technology is pushing forward along with training. We can expect to see more UGV and UAV displayed at every security tradeshow and conference.
For right now, robots and drones are beginning to be used, but the technology is in more of a test mode. There have been some setbacks like last year when a security robot ended up face down in a Washington, D.C. office building fountain or the time a similar robot was reported to have run over a child. The technology needs to be perfected, but it’s getting there.
It won’t be long before we see robots directing traffic, helping with emergency and rescue operations, welcoming us at storefronts and issuing parking tickets. Drones will be taking on surveillance duties and delivering needed supplies to remote areas.
One thing security professionals need to keep in mind is that for all of the good robots and drones can do they can also be used by the “bad guys” out there. Nancy Ford, owner of Security 101 – Salt Lake City, has more information and advice on countermeasures for drones in her SecurityInfoWatch.com article “Stadium operators must confront the threats posed by drones.”