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Robot security deployed to Cleveland shopping district with thermal cameras and license plate reader: 'Sam loves hugs and selfies!'

Image via ABC News 5 Cleveland (screenshot)

The Cleveland, Ohio, district of Crocker Park has enlisted the help of a security robot for 24-hour crime monitoring and emergency response.

According to ABC News 5 Cleveland, the robot is a 5'1", 420-pound robo-security guard with 360-degree cameras, thermal imaging, and a license plate reader.

"Hello, channel 5 news. My name is Sam. Thank you so much for coming out to meet with us today," the robot said to the local news crew.

The robot also has an emergency response button to allow citizens to speak to a person monitoring the machine's activity. There is not an actual person inside the robot.

"Sam has an actual security button on the top of him that you can press," said Stacie Schmidt, VP of marketing for Stark Enterprises.

"Any time you need a real-life human there is a human behind the eyes of Sam, and you can actually call their attention and get a real voice of a human who can talk to you at any point and time, so you can get someone's assistance right away," Schmidt added.

No human jobs were reportedly harmed with the introduction of the robot.

The robot's caretaker insisted that "people are excited about seeing him. ... Sam loves hugs and selfies."

The local news station said that the robot included first-of-its-kind technology; however, the machine looks strikingly similar to a robot deployed by Lowe's stores in Philadelphia.

That robot, called a K5, was listed a bit taller at five and a half feet, according to Silicon Valley-based security technology company Knightscope.

It too can recognize license plates and has six microphones, four wide-angle HD cameras, and sonar and lidar sensors.

Knightscope executive vice president Stacy Stephens said that the robot was created to provide security guards with improved situational awareness and record evidence for criminal prosecutions.

“The robots are for observing and reporting, they are not intended to be offensive in their abilities,” Stephens said.

The robot was deployed in Lowe's stores, according to the April 2023 report, and was predominantly for use outside the stores.

Lowe’s senior manager of corporate communications Larry Costello reportedly told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the security robots were part of a pilot project to “heighten the security and safety of our locations.”

The NYPD also outlined a deployment plan of the egg-shaped security guards to patrol city subways.

"We cannot be afraid of [the technology],” Mayor Eric Adams said.

“If we were not willing to move forward and use technology to properly keep cities safe, then we will not keep up with those who are doing harmful things to hurt New York.”

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