XPO patrols parking lots with security robot
Knightscope robot monitors employees' parking lot at Atlanta facility.
By Ben Ames
Transportation and logistics provider XPO Logistics Inc. is using a mobile robot provided by robotics manufacturer Knightscope Inc. to patrol parking lots at a company facility in Atlanta, saying the platform provides strict results at a cheaper cost than hiring human security guards.
Greenwich, Conn.-based XPO said Tuesday that the autonomous security robot, nicknamed "C3-XPO," monitors the parking lot and exterior of the site 24 hours a day. The company currently uses the robot only in the employees' personal vehicle lot, not to monitor trucks or logistics operations.
Since being deployed in October 2017, the robot has reduced the number of incidents of trespassing, car break-ins, and car damage, the company said. XPO declined to provide details on previous crime statistics at the location, but said there have been zero incidents in its first six months of use. Those results have saved money for the client using that site and improved external security by integrating emerging technology with facility operations, XPO Chief Operating Officer Troy Cooper said in a statement.
The 5 foot, 2 inch, 398-pound security robot works by supplementing the building's existing security cameras with a mobile video surveillance and analytics platform that includes 360-degree, high-definition, low-light cameras and two terabytes of data storage. The robot uses sensors to locate unauthorized cars in the lot, either by comparing license plates to a master list or by scanning vehicles with its thermal-imaging sensors to detect a vehicle with a warm engine in a lot where all the other cars are cold.
When it finds a target, the robot can trigger visual and audible alarms, and then speak recorded commands or broadcast live audio from humans working in the building's command center. Friendly employees who need help can also use the robot's emergency call button to request aid or ask for directions to emergency evacuation routes
The deployment of the security robot is the latest application of robotics by XPO, following the company's introduction of a warehouse management system (WMS) software platform designed to support the quick launch of robotics-based distribution centers and the installation of a robotic articulated arm that stacks packages on pallets at a facility in France managed by XPO for the snackfood giant Mars.
About the Author
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.
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