The West Campus Security Department has recently added an autonomous employee to their team. Texas Children’s is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve patient experience, and with the advancement of technology, the possibilities are endless. The new security robot has officially been deployed, and can be seen roaming the West Campus parking lots.
“I am extremely excited. This has been a team effort from the very first day,” West Campus Security Manager Rick Robertson said. “West campus leadership has been supportive of our efforts from the beginning to help this happen. I’m very grateful for everyone’s efforts in this regard. I think it’s another example of how Texas Children’s Hospital is willing to go the extra mile and do the things that we need to do to provide for everyone’s safety and security.”
The robot is not a replacement for security officers, but a tool they can use to help strengthen security tactics. Houston Police Department says that they are going to continue to work closely with the hospital and provide any additional support needed.
“Texas Children goes above and beyond to make its patients and employees feel safe,” Houston Police Department Northwest Patrol Division Commander Frank Fernandez said. “This is just another example of that. It frees up officers and security officers from doing some of the more regular routine tasks to be able to respond to something if an emergency happens.”
The security robot is over five feet tall, weighs 400 pounds, and is equipped with lights, sound, and a patient friendly design that can be seen anywhere in the parking lot. In addition, the robot has 360-degree cameras, an intercom, heat detection, license plate recognition, a siren, and a strobe light.
View a gallery of photos below.
The robot was provided by Knightscope, a security technology company that was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Mountain View, California. The goal of Knightscope is to reduce crime and improve public safety by designing, building and deploying Autonomous Data Machines, which are used to monitor malls, parking lots, and neighborhoods, and in our case, children’s hospitals.
“Hospitals are one of our fastest-growing segments and Children’s is one of the leading innovators in Texas,” Executive Vice President and Chief Client Officer Stacy Stephens said. “When we started Knightscope in 2013, we dreamed of reducing crime by up to 50 percent anywhere we deployed a robot in five to ten years. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that within a couple of years, we would have clients reporting back to us a 100 percent reduction in crime.”
Prior to the official deployment, there was a two-week installation process. This also included setting up charging stations, and giving the robot the freedom to roam the outpatient parking lot and become more familiar with its future work environment when it’s time to patrol alone.
“It’s all very intuitive,” Knightscope Robot Deployment Lead Daniel Coleman said. “Security Officers receive information through the robot’s included browser-based user interface and they’re able to determine everything about the robot – where it’s going, what patrol zone it’s currently patrolling, the battery life percentage – all of these and more are all viewable on a computer, laptop or mobile device.”
This robot is brand new to the Texas Children’s system and is a pilot program for the organization. If the program is successful we may see more Texas Children’s Hospital deployments to not only protect and serve, but also bring joy to patients and their families.
“We’ve already seen that our children are very excited about it and want to come up and say hello to the robot,” Robertson said. “I think that’s something that your typical security devices don’t bring to the table, an effective security tool that’s child friendly and fun! We’ve already had a naming contest that involved our patients, families and staff. ROSIE was chosen as our new team members name in a very close vote. We look forward to working with her.”