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Robot security guard dubbed ‘secret agent man’ deployed to patrol Ohio sidewalks

A shopping mall in Ohio is integrating cutting-edge AI technology into its safety team in the form of a 400-pound robot security guard.

“He’s our secret agent man,” Stacie Schmidt, vice president of marketing at Crocker Park, told local media. “He’s a new team member to our security team here at Crocker Park.”

Crocker Park is an open-air shopping mall in Westlake – a suburban town located about 15 miles outside of Cleveland – which sees nearly 10 million visitors a year and is home to 1,000 residents in luxury apartments. This month, leaders of Crocker Park introduced SAM, a 420-pound, 5-foot-1 autonomous robot that will patrol sidewalks and act as a “watchdog,” according to a press release provided to Fox News Digital.

“Our priority has always been to provide a safe and secure environment for everyone who visits our center, and the Knightscope robot will play a crucial role in enhancing our existing security measures,” said Sean Flanigan, vice president of security at Stark Enterprises, which owns Crocker Park. 

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SAM, the AI-powered robot, patrol sthe sidewalks of Crocker Park in Westlake, Ohio.  (Crocker Park )

SAM, which was built by California-based robotics company Knightscope, uses 360-degree video streaming and recording video capabilities to monitor areas and alert authorities to any potential issues. The robot can work 24 hours a day, rain or shine.

[SAM’s] AI algorithms enable it to detect anomalies and issue alerts to the on-site security team in real-time,” Crocker Park explained. “This augmentation in security is aimed at deterring potential incidents, ensuring a rapid response to any arising concerns, and fostering a safe and welcoming environment for the entire community.”

WHAT IS AI?

The robot moves at a speed of 2-3 miles per hour and is equipped with thermal imaging to help pick out potential threats such as theft, car accidents or vandalism. The robot also has a button that shoppers can push to be connected to the mall’s security team.

AI-powered robot

AI-powered robot called SAM patrolling Crocker Park in Ohio.  (Crocker Park)

The robot is not intended to replace people in security jobs, according to officials.

WHAT IS CHATGPT?

“It’s just an added tool for our security team to have backup opportunity to check cameras, videos, footage if something ever were to happen which it doesn’t happen very often ever here,” Schmidt told WOIO.

Some shoppers were taken aback when they spotted the new security addition, but warmed up to the robot once they realized it was there to ensure safety.

GhatGPT openAI logo

ChatGPT logo and AI Artificial Intelligence words are seen in this illustration taken, May 4, 2023.  (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)

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“It was a bit off-putting,” one shopper told WOIO. “I think I was just like ‘OK, what is this?’ And then of course I read it, reading is fundamental, and I’m like ‘oh it’s for our safety which is interesting.’ Now a robot is keeping us safe, that is interesting to me.”

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The robot comes as schools, museums, and other public areas have rolled out AI technology to help curb crime or prevent tragedy. School districts in Florida, New York and Illinois, for example, recently installed various AI tech to monitor for firearms and other weapons through security cameras. The system is designed to spot potential threats in real-time, then notify police when necessary.

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