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Chapter 61 — Robot Surveillance and Security

Wendell H. Chun and Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos

This chapter introduces the foundation for surveillance and security robots for multiple military and civilian applications. The key environmental domains are mobile robots for ground, aerial, surface water, and underwater applications. Surveillance literallymeans to watch fromabove,while surveillance robots are used to monitor the behavior, activities, and other changing information that are gathered for the general purpose of managing, directing, or protecting one’s assets or position. In a practical sense, the term surveillance is taken to mean the act of observation from a distance, and security robots are commonly used to protect and safeguard a location, some valuable assets, or personal against danger, damage, loss, and crime. Surveillance is a proactive operation,while security robots are a defensive operation. The construction of each type of robot is similar in nature with amobility component, sensor payload, communication system, and an operator control station.

After introducing the major robot components, this chapter focuses on the various applications. More specifically, Sect. 61.3 discusses the enabling technologies of mobile robot navigation, various payload sensors used for surveillance or security applications, target detection and tracking algorithms, and the operator’s robot control console for human–machine interface (HMI). Section 61.4 presents selected research activities relevant to surveillance and security, including automatic data processing of the payload sensors, automaticmonitoring of human activities, facial recognition, and collaborative automatic target recognition (ATR). Finally, Sect. 61.5 discusses future directions in robot surveillance and security, giving some conclusions and followed by references.

Security: Facial recognition

Author  Ali Mollahosseini, Mohammad Mahoor

Video ID : 553

Video of face tracking and facial-landmark-point extraction of Ali's face for a security robot.

Surveillance by a drone

Author  Bernd Lutz

Video ID : 554

The MULTIROTOR by is an innovative measuring instrument that can be used for surveillance. Besides delivering very stable pictures, the MULTIROTOR is also able to fly fully-automated measurement flights with a high precision of 1 mm ground resolution and equally impressive flight stability at wind strengths up to 10-15 m/s.

Ground security robot

Author  Stacy Stephens

Video ID : 677

Knightscope is developing human-size robot patrols that are intended to serve in jobs such as monitoring corporate and college campuses, shopping malls, and schools. The robots are designed to detect anomalous behavior, such as someone walking through a building at night, and to report back to a remote security center.

People detection from a UAV

Author  Hisham Sager, William Hoff

Video ID : 678

For pedestrian detection in outdoor surveillance scenarios, the size of pedestrians in the images are often very small (around 20 pixels tall). The most common and successful approaches for single-frame pedestrian detection use gradient-based features and a support vector machine classifier. Colorado School of Mines has developed a new algorithm that extracts gradient features from a spatio-temporal volume, consisting of a short sequence of images (about one second in duration). The additional information provided by the motion of the person compensates for the loss of resolution.

UGV Demo II: Outdoor surveillance robot

Author  Wendell Chun

Video ID : 679

The UGV / Demo II program, begun in 1992, developed and matured those navigation and automatic target-recognition technologies critical for the development of supervised, autonomous ground vehicles capable of performing military scout missions with a minimum of human oversight.

MDARS I: Indoor security robot

Author  Bart Everett

Video ID : 680

The mobile detection-assessment response system (MDARS) is a joint Army-Navy effort to field interior and exterior autonomous platforms for security and inventory-assessment functions at DOD warehouses and storage sites. The MDARS system, which provides an automated, robotic-security capability for storage yards, petroleum tank farms, rail yards, and arsenals, includes multiple supervised-autonomous platforms equipped with intrusion detection, barrier assessment, and inventory assessment subsystems commanded from an integrated control station.

Scout robot for outdoor surveillance

Author  Nikos Papanikolopoulos

Video ID : 681

The Scout robot has been developed at the University of Minnesota in partnership with MTS, Honeywell, and ATC. The Scouts are specialized robots that carry out low-level, usually parallel tasks to meet the mission objectives. Scouts can include simple sensory units or units with locomotion, tools, or other specializations. All Scouts have a similar form factor to enable delivery of the ranger by a uniform mechanism. The Scout has a body roughly 11 cm long and 4 cm in diameter (the special foam wheels can expand to 5 cm in diameter). This body fits snugly inside a protective covering called a Sabot which absorbs much of the impact during the launch and enables the Scout to break through a glass window, land safely, and be ready to begin its mission.

Detection of abandoned objects

Author  Nikos Papanikolopoulos

Video ID : 682

Automatic detection of abandoned objects is of great importance in security and surveillance applications. This project at the Univ. of Minnesota attempts to detect such objects based on several criteria. Our approach is based on a combination of short-term and long-term blob logic, and the analysis of connected components. It is robust to many disturbances that may occur in the scene, such as the presence of moving objects and occlusions.

Tracking people for security

Author  Nikos Papanikolopoulos

Video ID : 683

Tracking of people in crowded scenes is challenging because people occlude each other as they walk around. The latest revision of the University of Minnesota's person tracker uses adaptive appearance models that explicitly account for the probability that a person may be partially occluded. All potentially occluding targets are tracked jointly, and the most likely visibility order is estimated (so we know the probability that person A is occluding person B). Target-size adaptation is performed using calibration information about the camera, and the reported target positions are made in real-world coordinates.

Collaborative robots

Author  Vijay Kumar

Video ID : 700

UPenn, USC, and Georgia Tech have established a framework for deploying an adaptive system of heterogeneous robots for urban surveillance. The aerial robots generate maps that are used to design navigation controllers and plan missions for the team. Multiple robots establish a mobile, ad-hoc communication network which is aware of the radio-signal strength between nodes and can adapt to conditions to maintain connectivity. A team of aerial and ground robots is able to monitor a small village and search for and localize human targets by the color of uniforms, while ensuring that the information from the team is available to a remotely-located human operator.