Robot security guards

The University of Lincoln is working on a multi-million pound project to create robots which will learn how to interact and work in the real world and potentially work as security guards and carers.

Live updates

Linda the robot pays attention to detail

Scientists in Lincoln are working on a new robot that could soon be working alongside security guards and care home workers. Yes - Linda - as she's known - walks, talks and even bats her eyelids as she travels around buildings checking everything is where it should be.

And it's her attention to detail that means very little gets past her as James Webster has been finding out.


Meet Linda - the trainee security guard of the future

Linda the robot at the University of Lincoln Credit: ITV News Calendar

This is Linda. She is training to become a security guard. The robot is being developed at the University of Lincoln to patrol offices and other buildings looking for any items or people that are out of place. She can then be programmed to call a human security guard to check out the intruder.

Linda the robot patrolling an empty science lab Credit: ITV News Calendar

Scientists who are developing the software that enables Linda to 'learn' about her environment, including what people do in each room and when, say she will not replace traditional security guards. Instead she is designed to work alongside the human staff to make more detailed checks on rooms.

Robots will learn to 'develop a common-sense attitude'

The main idea is to deploy robots that run for a long time so they have the chance to develop a common-sense attitude on how the world should be and be able to spot the deviations. The robots are curious to learn about the environment - they will see if something has changed and whether that's a one-off or a regular occurrence. Our robots will be active for long periods in dynamic and changing environments.

Currently industry robots can run for 24 hours a day and are incredibly reliable in well-controlled environments, but they don't use long-term experience to adjust or improve in any way. Cognitive robotics systems can learn and adapt, but most are used for just one experiment. We want to build a bridge between the two by creating robots that can run for long periods of time and also make use of life-long learning capabilities to adapt to the needs of different users.

– Dr Marc Hanheide, University of Lincoln's School of Computer Science

Service robots could work as care assistants

The idea is to create service robots that will work with people and learn from long-term experiences. What's unusual about any environment depends on the context. In a security scenario a robot will be required to perform regular patrols and continually inspect its surroundings for variations from its normal experiences.

Certain changes such as finding a person in a restricted area may indicate a security violation or a burglary. In a care home a robot will be required to act as an assistant for elderly patients, fetching and carrying things while also being alert to incidents such as people falling over.

It's not just about developing a care home or security guard robot. We are trying to enable robots to learn from their long-term experience and their perception of how the environment unfolds in time. The technology will have many possible applications.

– Dr Tom Duckett, University of Lincoln's School of Computer Science


Trainee robots in action

The University of Lincoln is part of the team working to create intelligent mobile robots. The £7.2 million project involves security company G4S Technology Ltd and Austrian care home provider, the Academy of Ageing Research, where the technology developed during the scheme will be tested.

Robots learn how to be security guards in Lincoln

This robot could learn how to become a security guard

Academics at the University of Lincoln are working to create mobile robots which will learn to interact and work in the real world. The multi-million pound project aims to develop robots which can operate intelligently and independently.

The robots will be taught to gain an understanding of 3D space and learn how this space changes over periods of time, from milliseconds to months.

The University of Lincoln will help develop the software which will process the sheer volume of experiences the robots will encounter.

Back to top