Robot security guards are coming to a Houston-area transit center, park and ride lot and rail station in the coming months.
According to a news report, the Houston, Texas Metropolitan Transit Authority board approved a $270,000 test of the techno-police.
"They have been shown to be deterrents," said Denise Wendler, Chief Information Officer for Metro. Wendler said Metro's agreement with the vendor is a one-year test, from which it could expand beyond the three locations. In addition, Wendler said that the goal of the new technology is to provide more security to petty crimes without stretching police resources.
Wendler added that agency officials will decide which parking lots, transit centers and rail stops will get a robot in the first year.
Metro CEO Tom Lambert, a former police chief, said the robots can act as a “force multiplier” for transit police. The agency can use the robots to patrol lots or provide immediate recording of incidents, without tying up actual employee hours, says Lambert.
Although they are a cost-effective crime deterrent, says the report, the devices have raised alarms with some privacy concerns about a robot roaming public spaces recording everything and broadcasting back to private and public entities. Fears of hacking also have been raised, says the report.