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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

Gamma 2 Robotics Launches Unique Security Robot For What Goes Bump In The Night

June 30th, 2016 by Jeff Rowe

A couple weeks ago at Hexagon’s International Conference (HxGN Live 2016), Gamma 2 Robotics, makers of artificially intelligent autonomous security robots, intoduced RAMSEE, a new security patrol robot. The launch at HxGN LIVE was part of a new partnership with Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure.

I spoke with the company’s chief product officer, Francis X. Govers III in a video interview at the conference that you can view by clicking here.

RAMSEE is a physical robotic presence that, once it is programmed, patrols autonomously without supervision and provides real-time data on intruders, motion, heat, fire, smoke, and toxic gas leaks. The company says that it will soon offer fire suppression options for RAMSEE. As a human-machine interface it creates a powerful force multiplier, especially noteworthy for jobs that are difficult to fill, such as overnight security.

Besides having a relatively human physical scale (although at over 200 pounds, would be tough to steal), for “senses,” RAMSEE has LIDAR eyes and uses infrared vision, laser radar navigation, 360-degree cameras, heat sensing, and toxic gas leak detection when scanning its surroundings. If the robot detects anything awry, it contacts its human overseer/monitors.

Although spelled slightly differently, Gamma 2 Robotics’ RAMSEE borrows its name from mummified Egyptian pharaohs, which is fitting since it is designed to literally work the graveyard shift. The security bot is an autonomous patrolman, rolling around empty halls and hard-to-surveil places, its LIDAR eyes and infrared cameras scanning the environment around it at all times. It is a robot built for empty spaces, alerting its human overseers to any harmful intrusion or hazard.

Gamma 2 Robotics – RAMSEE

The standard RAMSEE sensor suite includes:

  • LIDAR (Laser Radar) scanner for mapmaking and obstacle avoidance
  • FLIR (forward looking infrared) thermal camera that “sees” temperatures and warm objects, such as humans
  • 3D depth camera that sees objects in space, assists with obstacle avoidance and helps with object classification
  • 360-degree near-IR video cameras that work day and night; 360-degree PIR (Passive Infrared) detectors that sense motion
  • Drop off sensors to see stairs, loading docks and other negative spaces
  • IMUs (Inertial Measurement Unit) that aids navigation and senses tilt and bounce
  • Sonar-based electronic bumper – the final tier in our multi-level obstacle detection and avoidance system
  • Toxic gas and heat sensors

Importantly, the company claims that the robot’s performance capabilities are identical in daytime or complete darkness.

These sensors help fulfill RAMSEE’s role as a security and safety observer. The robots act as mobile smoke and fire detectors. A gas sensor can detect carbon monoxide or volatile hydrocarbons that might indicate a gas leak. Temperature and humidity sensors will report on the efficiency and operations of critical HVAC systems in food processing or data centers for example. The FLIR camera can take temperatures remotely and monitor equipment at a distance. Additional sensor channels are available for customer-specified equipment like radiation detectors, special gas detectors, or RFID readers.

Emergency equipment on the robot includes two-way video and voice communications, a very loud siren, flashing amber strobe lights, bright headlights, and a voice synthesizer that allows the robot to speak or act as a mobile announcement station in event of an emergency procedure.

According to the company, what makes RAMSEE different from other robots are the following characteristics:

Automated Landmark Discrimination (ALD) – Determines which objects the robot can use to navigate by. For example, RAMSEE likes walls and doors, ignores boxes and tables.

Coherent Change Detection (CCD) – Determines changes in ambient conditions that might signal a dangerous condition, such as a new noise, a strange sound, or activity where none was before.

Object Classification and Recognition (OCR) – The robot can recognize objects, including people. Future features will include facial and body recognition, as well as integration with access control systems to determine who are authorized personnel and who are intruders.

Simulated Personality (SP) – While a robot does not have a real personality, it can simulate a personality to assist the robot in working with humans.

“RAMSEE will change the world of security because it never rests and operates at a fraction of the cost paid for other security services,” said Lew Pincus, chief executive officer, Gamma 2 Robotics. “We built RAMSEE to be ideally suited for the overnight dull, dirty and dangerous patrols nobody wants to do. These are the jobs for which the security industry struggles to find staffing.”

The companies that provide security personnel as well as the end users of security services have been plagued with an inability to recruit staff, resulting in high turn-over and low reliability of manned security labor. By using RAMSEE as a force multiplier, safety and security can be delivered at a lower cost with greater reliability.

“Mobile sensor platforms, such as robots and drones, have the potential to disrupt public safety and security markets,” said Kalyn Sims, chief technology officer, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure. “Through our partnership with Gamma 2 Robotics and other efforts, Hexagon is exploring the integration of mobile sensor platforms, command-and-control software and advanced analytics to enhance public safety and security.”

Gamma 2 Robotics Autonomous Robot (Note that this video is an older robot version prior to the redesign now known as RAMSEE)

While useful in their own right, the value of robots and other mobile sensor platforms increases when integrated with other safety and security assets, such as video surveillance systems, access control systems, building automation systems and others, into command-and-control software for a comprehensive solution for threat detection, assessment and response.

At HxGN LIVE in Anaheim, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure and Gamma 2 Robotics demonstrated the capabilities of a comprehensive physical security information management (PSIM) solution featuring Hexagon’s command-and-control software and multiple security systems and sensors, including RAMSEE.

“We teamed with Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure and chose to launch our new line of security robots at HxGN LIVE because Hexagon’s global footprint and reputation for innovative solutions provide an international platform for our game-changing, disruptive technology in security services,” said Pincus.

Gamma 2 Robotics rightly believes that the robot will do the job that the security industry struggles with — particularly overnight security — to find staffing for and a cheaper alternative, as well.

According to Mr. Govers, orders for RAMSEE will start this fall for delivery next spring, with production scheduled to ramp up in January 2017.

Gamma 2 Robotics and RAMSEE have come a long way from the first time I saw an early iteration of the robot at a Maker event several years ago. The company seems to have carved out a niche for marketing its autonomous robot that should boost its probability for success.

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