Twin Arrows has first robot security guard in state

DURANGO, Colo.

The newest security guard at Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort never needs a coffee break.

Twin Arrows Navajo Resort and Casino | Courtesy photo
Cage cashier Cheryl Woodty, left, and cage supervisor Alta Kinsel pose with Twin Arrows’ new K-5 security robot.

Looking something like a badass version of R2D2, this real-life robocop started his? her? its assignment today, helping the casino’s security team patrol the 170,000 square-foot property.

Stacy Stephens, co-founder and executive vice president of Knightscope, the California-based company that created the bot, was reluctant to reveal the details of how it works, lest the bad guys think they can figure out a way to outsmart it. Basically, it’s an information-gathering device.

“I want to emphasize that it does not replace a human security officer,” said Stephens, a former policeman. “We work on enhancing, not replacing, humans. Even though the robots are very, very capable of doing certain things, there’s no way they can replace a person.”

Basically, Stephens said, the bot “enhances an officer’s situational awareness so he can make smarter, faster, safer decisions.”

Stephens said the robot can be thought of as an extension of a smartphone, but one that can travel on its own.

“When I was a policeman, if I wanted to carry technology, the only real estate I have available is my body,” he explained. “If I could increase the amount of intelligence I could gather without having to carry around a lot more stuff — and police have a lot to carry already — it makes me that much more effective.”

True, but isn’t technology only as effective as the humans who use it?

Yes, says Stephens, and this bot is particularly user-friendly. It only takes a couple of hours to train a security team how to use the robot, and tech support is available from Knightscope “24/7, 365.”

The only question left to resolve is what the human guards will call their new colleague. “I understand Twin Arrows is having a naming contest among their employees,” Stephens said.

We’ll unveil the tin man’s name, and find out how it’s doing, in the next edition of the Navajo Times. Our suggestion: Chip.


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Categories: News

About Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at editor@navajotimes.com.