New Robots Protect Israeli Civilian Facilities

They operate as a group and share data in real time as they protect sensitive installations.
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Robot guards developed by a former agent of the Israel Security Agency can operate as a group and share data in real time as they protect sensitive installations, but they do not use deadly force without human authorization, say published reports.

In addition, when the robots—named “Amstaff”—detect a threat, they rush towards it, while transmitting pictures to a remote control room, order intruders to stop, and open fire if needed, reports the newspaper Globes.

Amstaff was developed to protect civilian installations, said Amos Goren, who was a member of the Israel Security Agency’s VIP Protection Unit. "Our project was to develop a system suitable for security in the field, not for military purposes, so it is not a matter of military technology that has been converted to civilian security use, and that is where our system's great advantage lies," Goren said.

A group of from four or five Amstaffs can protect a large area, such as Ben Gurion Airport, according to Goren. Each robot covers a pre-defined area, and its sensors enable it to detect any threat that approaches its territory. "The smart robots can detect any threat long before the human brain would. This is thanks to artificial intelligence features of the devices, that enable them to operate autonomously."

However, despite the robot's independent operating capabilities, it will only shoot if authorized to do so by the operator in the control room, said Goren, who added that is to ensure human judgment is exercised in such circumstances. "As an emergency situation develops, with friendly human forces reaching the area, the robots will be able to identify them and will not open fire on them," Goren says.

Representatives of overseas defense and security agencies have recently shown interest in purchasing the system, as have Israeli security entities. "The outstanding advantage of a system like this is that the robots have no mother and no father. This is a security concept, not a response to a military need. The idea is to let these vehicles merge into the territory, not to stand out and not to threaten, but to be sensitive and aware of any unusual development in the area defined for their operation," Goren says.