The End of Security Guards? (Vigilus Robot)

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Sep 09, 2012

"A new wave of robots is replacing workers in both manufacturing and distribution" claims the New York Times. And now a new ASIS award winning robot aims to replace security guards. In this note, we dig into the key capabilities and pricing of this new robot and how it stacks up against human guards.

Product Overview

The Vigilus Mobile Camera Platform is an autonomous robotic security system with the following key features:

  • --Autonomous operation: The robot may be set on task in a variety of ways, via the central console, voice command, or two-way radio. Tours and locations may be set up via importing of CAD drawings or by walking the robot to each location. The robot will respond to commands such as "Move to loading dock" after these locations are set up. Vigilus may also be controlled manually via the software console.
  • Sensors: Vigilus contains passive thermal sensors and sonar which are used for object detection and navigation, as well as classification of subjects, such as animals or human intruders. Additionally, multiple gas sensors, such as carbon monoxide or combustible gas may be installed.
  • IP camera: The robot carries a user provided IP camera which may be used to view its surroundings, and integrated into third-party video management systems. This video is not used by the robot itself.
  • Wireless connectivity: Vigilus is connected to its central command console via 802.11n wireless, if available throughout the facility. For buildings without wireless coverage, 3G/4G connectivity is an option.
  • Mobility: The Vigilus robot essentially requires the facility to be ADA compliant. It may use ramps and may be customized to operate elevators, but is unable to ascend or descend stairs. Its top speed is about five miles per hour, but it typically moves at lower speeds.

Vigilus is expected to be available in Q3 2012. Pricing is not yet finalized, but is expected to be in the range of $30,000-40,000 USD.

Here's their pitch for replacing security guards with robots.

In Action

Here's a short video showing the robot 'walking':

Elevators

It may not be simple or common to use this with elevators. Elevator control is accomplished via an RF signaling integration, not via the robot pushing call buttons (though this would be undoubtedly more sci-fi). Systems such as these are not common, but have seen some use in healthcare installations, where robots are used to deliver medications and other supplies to multiple floors in a hospital. 

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Tipping the Robot (Member Request)

While not extremely challenging to top the robot, its center of gravity is shifted to the bottom rear, where the battery is located, making it more difficult. The size of its wheels make it difficult to tip to either side, and a stop in its front prevents it from tipping straight forward. Additionally, the robot vocally alerts users to stop pushing (not joking), and signals may be sent to the console upon attempt. All these features aside, truly determinded attackers would likely have only modest trouble tipping it.

Dealing with Different Surfaces

Changing surfaces can be a challenge for the robot. For instance, the plush carpet of the ASIS booth was causing movement issues with the robot, which is normally calibrated to work on solid surfaces such as concrete or thinner carpet typically found in commercial offices. This may present an issue if multiple drastically different floor types are found in a facility, as the robot would need to be adjusted to accomodate these differences or if surfaces were changed over time.

Integration

The Vigilus system is currently standalone, and with the exception of the user provided IP camera, does not integrate to other security systems, such as video management or access control. Gamma Two informs us an API will be made available, so the robot may be driven by events from these systems, moving it to respond to alarms. 

Company Overview

The company behind Vigilus is Gamma Two, a small technology company based in Colorado led by a husband and wife PhDs. The company has been developing robots since 2003 but is only now starting to market broadly. The company is internally funded, not looking for investment but willing to consider it.

Channel Sales

While the company is initially working directly with earlier customers, it seeks to develop channel partners to help sell and service the robots.

Competitive Comparisons

The only other security robot we know of is Oculus, is far less expensive though far less sophisticated (no programmed path, no integrated sensors) unit.

Compared to Guards

The two key advantages of the robot are:

  • Less expensive than guards. At $30,000 to $40,000 USD it costs about a year of 1 security guard shift and the fraction of what 24/7 manned security costs.
  • Can safely go into areas that might otherwise be dangerous to a human. The robot may be destroyed but, by definition, it cannot be wounded or killed, which reduces liability concerns and payouts.

However, the robot has some key limitations compared to a human:

  • Deterrence: A human guard is more likely to deter intruders than a robot would. First, intruders may not even recognize the robot as a security device. Additionally, assaulting a security is a much more serious crime with harsher penalties than tipping over a robot.
  • Mobility: Human guards are capable of navigating stairs and rough outdoor areas the Vigilus is not. If the facility has multiple floors or mezzanine areas which must be guarded, without elevators, Vigilus is likely a poor fit.
  • Customer service: Security guards often hellp employees and visitors answering questions, escorting them, assisting them with tasks. A robot will not be able to do much, if any, of this.
  • Price: At $30,000+, it is not cheap nor trivial investment for security users.
  • Track record: Perhaps the most challenging limitation Gamma Two must overcome is the lack of proven track record of robots in security. Security managers are risk-averse by nature, so using untested technology such as this may be undesirable.

This noted, given the low innovation in the security industry and the fascination many have with guards, we think this will be one of the most hotly debated, talked about products at the show. However, whether this will have a significant impact will take years to determine, as this offering is still in its infancy.

6 reports cite this report:

New CEO Leads Gamma2 Ramsee Security Robots on Nov 07, 2016
Security robots have gained increasing attention and controversy, with the run over child and Knightscope's ongoing claims to reduce crime. Now,...
"This Is The Robot That Will Change The World" - Riley on Jun 10, 2016
The most well known 'professional' security robot, Knightscope, is asking $50,000 per year per robot. Now, another startup, is promoting 'the...
The Robolliance, If Not Robots, Are Here on Jun 02, 2016
Are robots the next big thing in security? A new alliance and a large security cooperative thinks so. In this note, we examine the 'Roboliiance',...
Knightscope Security Robot Examined on Apr 19, 2016
Silicon Valley is bringing us security robots, or as the startup, Knightscope, likes to call it, "Advanced Physical Security Cutting Edge Anomaly...
The RoboGuard: New Product on Oct 15, 2014
ASIS loves robots (apparently). First, the Vigilus patrol robot won an award in 2012, and now, Senstar's RoboGuard, an automated fence patrol...
Winners Losers Fall 2014 on Oct 13, 2014
We are all losers, IPVM included. The historically poor new releases for ASIS / Essen make 2014 the worst year for surveillance innovation in, at...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Directory of 60 Video Surveillance Startups on Jun 25, 2019
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known. 2019...
Genetec Synergis Cloud Link - Complex, Costly and Confusing on Jun 18, 2019
Genetec's Synergis Cloud Link is complex, costly and confusing compared to competitor access control architectures. Inside this note, we examine...
Favorite Wireless Manufacturers 2019 on Jun 12, 2019
Many wireless options exist for video surveillance but how are integrator's overall favorites? 170 integrators answered the question: What is...
Directory of 30+ VSaaS / Cloud Video Surveillance Providers on Jun 07, 2019
This directory provides a list of VSaaS / cloud video surveillance providers to help you see and research what options are available. 2019 State...
Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
Security Fail: ASISNYC Auto Emails Passwords In Plain Text on May 14, 2019
ASIS NYC automatically emails a user with the password the user just entered, in plain text, when one registers for the site / event, as the...
Mining Company Security Manager Interview on May 10, 2019
First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQML) is a global enterprise with offices on 4 continents and operations in 7 countries with exploratory operations...
Register Now - Fall 2019 IP Networking Course on May 02, 2019
Register for the Fall 2019 IP Networking Course. For early registration save $50 off the course's normal $299 price. This is the only networking...
Knightscope Adds Just 2 Total Customers In Past Year, Yet Raising Money at $300 Million Valuation on May 02, 2019
This is no longer funny. While Knightscope has laughed it up promoting robot selfies, joking about a 'suicidal robot', the man who attacked a...

Most Recent Industry Reports

History of Video Surveillance on Jul 19, 2019
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going from VCRs to emerging into an AI cloud era.  The goal of this history...
Mobile Access Usage Statistics 2019 on Jul 18, 2019
The ability to use mobile phones as access credentials is one of the biggest trends in a market that historically has been slow in adopting new...
New GDPR Guidelines for Video Surveillance Examined on Jul 18, 2019
The highest-level EU data protection authority has issued a new series of provisional video surveillance guidelines. While GDPR has been in...
Anyvision Aims For 2022 Revenue of $1 Billion on Jul 17, 2019
Only 3 video surveillance manufacturers do a billion dollars or more in annual revenue - Hikvision, Dahua, and Axis. Now, Anyvision plans to join...
HD Analog vs IP Guide on Jul 16, 2019
For years, HD resolution and single cable signal/power were IP camera advantages, with analog cameras limited to much lower resolution and...
How To Troubleshoot Wiegand Reader Problems - Inverted Wiring on Jul 16, 2019
Wiegand is the dominant method of connecting access readers, but problems can arise for installers. In fact, one of the most difficult reader...
ZeroEyes Gun Detection Startup on Jul 16, 2019
A gun detection video analytics startup, ZeroEyes, is being led by a group of 6 former Navy SEALs, aiming to "save lives" by using AI to assist...
Motorola Acquires Watchguard, Adds to Vigilant And Avigilon on Jul 15, 2019
2 years ago, Motorola had no position nor relevancy to video surveillance. Now, they own major video surveillance, LPR and body camera providers...
Hikvision Global News Reports Directory on Jul 15, 2019
Hikvision has received the most global news reporting of any video surveillance company, ever, ranging from the WSJ, the Financial Times, Reuters,...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact