Some US schools are looking to robots to assist in shoring up campus security and potentially combat invaders, The Wall Street Journal.
According to the study, Santa Fe High School in New Mexico was among the first in the United States to test an autonomous robot that uses artificial intelligence to understand the campus’ routes and typical hours of activity. The school is testing the effectiveness of its 60-day trial program, which began in June.
School security has become a growing worry due to school mass shootings, such as the one that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, ki!!ing 19 students and two instructors.
According to data from Gun Violence Archive, there were around 146 mass shootings across the country between January and April of this year, surpassing the number of mass shootings in the same time over the previous four years.
What those remedies are has become a source of political debate. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has called for additional armed security at schools, opposing calls for stricter gun legislation.
The Biden Administration signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act last June, investing millions of dollars in mental health programs and school security.
The 400-pound, four-wheeled robot presently wandering Santa Fe High School was created by Team 1st Technologies, an Albuquerque-based robotics business. It can give 360-degree video footage. According to KRQE, the robot has seven cameras and a 20-hour battery that takes four hours to charge at a self-charging station.
According to Andy Sanchez, a manager at Squad 1st, the robot may inform a security squad in the event of an active shooter and advance toward the culprit to relay a video to authorities.
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The robot can also confront attackers even though it is unarmed. A speaker system enables a remote security team to communicate with an intruder.
A Team 1st spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent over the weekend.
According to Mario Salbidrez, executive director of safety and security at Santa Fe Public Schools, the robot would enhance the district’s existing security system.
“As you know, sometimes we’re limited on human resources to be out, and they also need breaks and lunches and so forth, so the robots are going to help us supplement the downtime for our regular staff,” Salbidrez told the television station.
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Superintendent Brad Wade of the Wyandotte Public Schools district in Oklahoma told the Journal that the community wants to deploy four robots from Stokes Robotics, which sells quadruped and wheeled robots.
The district is primarily interested in surveillance bots that can monitor school building entrances. However, it may also consider robots capable of confronting intruders.
Stokes Robotics President Robert Stokes stated that he is collaborating with several school districts to incorporate robots into the classroom.
The robots can be used to teach coding, but they can also take more proactive steps, such as directing a laser beam or flashing light to distract the burglar, who wrote to Insider in an email.
“When an intruder is detected, the security personal takes control of the robots, moves them out of the classroom, and confronts the intruder,” Stokes wrote. “The robots provide two-way communication and video feeds to security and law enforcement.”
Stokes said that his company’s robots may also “district, disorient,” and draw the intruder’s attention for many minutes until law enforcement arrives.
Stokes Robotics’ video demo illustrates how a quadruped robot may point a laser beam toward an intruder’s chest or bump into the suspect.
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