I Spent the Night with Yelp’s Robot Security Guard, Cobalt

Classic and understated. Looks like a traffic cone with fashion sense.
Does this sound like a professional security guard to you?
Probably not, but these are the types of comments being heard from those who have already come in contact with Colbalt, the latest in robotic technology courtesy of Silicon Valley.
Brought to you by a startup of the same name, Cobalt makes no bones about its intentions – its purpose is to eliminate human guards. That admission is in stark contrast to its main competitor, Knightscope, maker of the much maligned “suicide robot” we blogged about last week, whose robots are touted as a complement to, rather than replacement for actual guards.
Cobalt patrols autonomously, detecting people, dodging obstacles, and alerting a remote operator if it spots something unusual. Through artificial intelligence, it can even ask a human questions to better understand the situation at hand. It’s already on patrol at Yelp’s headquarters, and the company is paying a fraction of what it would cost to employ human guards or use high tech electronics.
Still, the robot has yet to prove itself in a range of settings. Right not, it patrols at night, when foot traffic is minimal. How it would do in a more fast-past environment is yet to be seen.
It’s a lengthy but interesting look at what might be in store for the security industry in the not so distant future.

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