Hospital hires robot to patrol emergency room parking lot

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., Sept. 22 (UPI) — A California hospital unveiled the newest member of its security staff — a robot charged with patrolling the emergency room parking lot.

Bakersfield Memorial Hospital officials said the egg-shaped robot, which stands at about the height of a human child, is equipped with cameras and sensors to allow it to navigate its way around the parking lot without being controlled by a human.

Ken Keller, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said the robot, which is programmed to say a friendly “Hello” to anyone it meets in the lot, includes a security button people can push to summon the facility’s human security officers.

“It’s here for three reasons: safety, security and surveillance,” Keller told KBAK/KBFX. “It’s here to augment our security officers and give them the ability to be more hands on with patients and families.”

Keller said the robot will soon be able to take oral commands in English and Spanish.

The hospital is currently holding a contest on its Facebook page to name the robot.



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