SAM the Security Guard

12189842464?profile=RESIZE_400xI just returned from visiting family and friends in the Cleveland Ohio area.  One Saturday morning, I stopped for coffee at a Starbucks, located at Croker Park shopping center.  This shopping tends to attract high-end shoppers.  I was there only because I was meeting a friend who lived nearby.  I’m far from a high-end shopper.  I then saw a robot cruise by and had to take a pic of this futuristic “security guard.”

A robot designed to fight crime and keep citizens safe in Westlake Ohio, was unveiled recently, much to the surprise of residents and shoppers.  The wheeled robot, described as being 420 pounds with 360-degree view, was revealed by Crocker Park, an open-air shopping center in Westlake, on 10 August 2023. "Meet S.A.M. Parker (Secret Agent Man) our new security guard at Crocker Park," a Facebook post by the development stated.[1]

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."


In a press release, a Crocker Park spokesman said the robot uses artificial intelligence and comes with an intercom button that is programmed to call security on duty when pressed.  Crocker Park has 2,000 residents as well as offices, restaurants and stores and the new robot is expected to patrol multiple sections within the area.

Locals spoke to Cleveland 19 News about the robot and remarked at the use of AI technology to keep people safe.  "I was surprised when we first walked up," shopper Colt Eberling said.  “I had no idea what it was until I started reading [the words on the robot], it's at least labeled nicely so you can kind of tell what's going on there but yeah that's what the kids said they thought it was a robot from Star Wars."

"As long as it's used in the right way everybody's talking about AI now but that's a good purpose, you don't use AI just to write papers for students," shopper Andrea Hubbard said.

"It was a bit off-putting I think I was just like okay, 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," fellow shopper Ron Hubbard added.

In its press release, Crocker Park answered many of the expected questions surrounding the use of the robot as a security guard.  The robot uses a video camera and a thermal camera and is not designed to focus on anyone individual specifically. It is intended to proactively seek out "anomalies that suggest criminal activity," such as people in restricted areas.

The machine is not armed and will not call the police, but can be used to contact on-duty security.  The only people who have access to the live and recorded video streams are authorized individuals, and the data is encrypted and password-protected.

Jim McKee, CEO of Red Sky Alliance Corp. stated, “I am not impressed by any new physical security technology that can be thwarted by placing a trash bag over its top.”

Having grown up in the Cleveland area, I know winter can be brutal.  I kinda doubt SAM will be able to navigate in 2” or more of snow. 

This article is presented at no charge for educational and informational purposes only.

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