The rapidly growing market for robotics continues to attract new entrants as both demand for high quality robots increases and the technology to deliver robotics improves. The latest company to announce entry into the space is Sharp. Sharp has introduced a new division focused on robotics, Sharp Robotics Business Development (SRBD), and has come to market with its first offering focused in the field of security. The Intellos Automated Unmanned Ground Vehicle (A-UGV) is a rugged mobile robot designed to augment security staff with an abundance of sensors, cameras, and the capability to traverse rugged terrain.
- The lithium ion batteries designed to provide an average of 8 hours of continuous operation with a simple to replace spare battery. When the device is low on battery it returns to home base where a person easily swaps out the used battery and replaces it with a charged battery. This is in contrast to the often seen robots that autonomously bring themselves to a charging station and remain idle while charging.
- The rugged design that allows the robot to travel over a variety of terrain types and continue to operate in temperature variation and inclement weather. In fact, during the demonstration, the Intellos was shown navigating through snow. The tracks in the snow were near perfect, as the robot goes only where it is programmed to go maintaining a programmable travel path.
- Cameras provide real-time imagery, while capturing a constant stream of visual data that can be analyzed through the control center to identify inconsistencies such a door that is ajar when it should not be or other changes to the environment.
- A multitude of sensors, that can be configured based on site specific need, to capture elements in the environment as analyze threats or risks associated with elevated levels of certain material or hazardous material in the environment.
- The telescopic boom that stretches up to allow the robot to see over obstructions.
The fact that Sharp has entered into the robotics market helps to showcase the growing importance and acceptance of robotics. According to Doug Albregts, President, CEO and Chairman of SEC, "The Intellos A-UGV is rooted in Sharp's 100+ years of manufacturing excellence and a legacy of engineering world technological "firsts". Like our document systems and professional displays for which we are known, the Sharp Intellos A-UGV is another solution for today's businesses. When it comes to the shifting demands of private and public sector security, the industry integrators and their customers will now have a safe, reliable and cost-effective robotic tool working to safeguard people, assets, and infrastructure."
As robots continue to proliferate across our personal and professional lives, we can expect to continue to see innovative new robots, such as Intellos, emerge to fill in a gap and augment what we as people do on a daily basis. From a security perspective, such devices are not meant to replace humans, they are being designed to augment human effort. I believe that the key to the future of robotics is not to outright replace people, but rather to take on the dull, dirty, and dangerous jobs and allow people to become more productive. Kudos to Sharp for having the foresight, this program was initiated over two years ago, to recognize the opportunity and commit resources to developing a next generation security device.