Hotel quarantine has been one of Australia’s strongest measures for keeping COVID-19 infections at bay, but it still isn’t perfect. Previous hotel quarantine breaches have resulted in state-wide lockdowns. To further increase security, the Victorian government is looking at introducing autonomous security robots in its quarantine hotels.
The robocops are watching
Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) is looking at employing audio- and video-capturing robots that will be able to monitor quarantine hotels. The initiative would provide extra CCTV coverage of hallways in these premises.
The robots are said to be sourced from Cobalt Robotics and are equipped with 360-degree cameras and an array of thermal and depth sensors. They can also roam around freely on wheels, which is only mildly terrifying.
Cobalt Robotics describes the robots as “direct guard replacements” and has designed them with COVID-19 specific features such as temperature checking. They were previously used in quarantine arrangements for the US Open last year.
The Victorian security company Monjon is heading up the initiative in conjunction with CQV.
“Monjon is looking forward to the prospect of assisting the Victorian government and its agencies in providing a safe and reliable alternative to limit human movement and human contact in hotels,” Monjon chief executive Bryan Goudsblom said.
The robots will aid in checking resident compliance but will not completely replace hallway monitoring by staff, according to ITnews.
The idea is that if the robots detect any breaches or unauthorised movement an alert can be sent to onsite security and police. Officers can then investigate the situation.
A lot of police resources have been redirected to hotel quarantine in the past year. These robots should cut down the number of police needed on-site at any one time as well as further minimising the risk of staff infections.
If nothing else, the idea that a sentry robot is waiting outside your door should be enough to dissuade you from leaving your room.
CQV will begin a pilot program in Victorian quarantine hotels in the coming weeks.