Robot replaces security guard in Singapore

Fewer and fewer recipients are working as security guards, automated patrol robots have been manufactured and put into use.

Ademco, a security services company in Singapore, has recently launched a robot leasing service to meet the labor shortage in this special field.

Named S5 code, the robots are about 1.6 meters high, designed to look like a submarine with five cameras on a long neck, two front cameras and four wheels. It can memorize the car license plate and own a 360-degree viewing distance up to 10 meters. Without remote control, they are self-operating machines.

When detecting abnormal signs such as fire, smoke or loud sound, the robot will automatically send alerts to the system. Made in San Francisco, USA, but the product is designed to withstand the temperature and humidity of Singapore.

However, they also have their own limitations. Weighing up to 160kg, the robot can move on the slope but not climb stairs. It can send out warning signals but can not intervene immediately, or prevent intruders.

Security robot in Singapore. Photo: Smprobotics US

The cost to hire a robot is not too cheap. According to Mashable, in Singapore, companies spend about S SGD 8,000 a month to hire two security guards taking turns every 12 hours. The robot can operate almost all day (except charging time), at a cost of about SGD 7,500. However, no matter what happens, they will not ask for their own leave.

Ademco is hoping the robots will help to solve the shortage of security guards in the market. “People have limitations”, CEO Toby Koh said. “Security guards patrol 7 to 8 times every 12 hours. If I patrol 10 times a day, at some point, my concentration will decrease, and my ability to identify problems will not be good as before”.

It is even more important that the robots are not affected by the high turnover rate. In recent years, Singapore has faced a serious shortage of security personnel. According to the Straits Times report in 2014, it was estimated this country needs about 10,000 bodyguards and security companies had to hire people from Taiwan to work.

Ademco’s chief competitor, Certis Cisco, said it also wants to use the robot automatically if possible. Currently, Ademco’s orders are overloaded because there are not enough robots to supply them. The emergence of security robots also made many people surprise and curious.

A 62-year-old man who has been a security guard for 13 years said the robots taught him the concept of “monotonous and super-talented” at work.

“In some places it takes 8 to 12 hours to patrol … It’s not the time that old people like me can stand every day.”

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