Israeli-developed robots can spot and shoot terrorists

Amstaff’ robots able to detect threats before the human brain does, developer says.

Robots developed by former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) agent Amos Goren can operate as a group and share data in real time as they protect sensitive installations. When they detect a threat, they rush toward it, while transmitting pictures to a remote control room, call on the suspects to stop through loudspeakers, and even fire at them.
The robot, named Amstaff, was developed in the past few years by Goren, 65, formerly a member of the Shin Bet’s VIP Protection Unit.
Goren’s Amstaffs were developed to protect civilian installations.
“Our project was to develop a system suitable for security in the field, not for military purposes; so it is not a matter of military technology that has been converted to civilian security use, and that is where our system’s great advantage lies,” Goren told Globes.
In Goren’s system, a pack of four to five Amstaffs can protect a large area, such as Ben-Gurion Airport. Each robot covers a predefined area, and its sensors enable it to detect any threat that approaches its territory.
“The smart robots can detect any threat long before the human brain would,” Goren said. “This is thanks to artificial intelligence features of the devices that enable them to operate autonomously.”
However, despite the robot’s independent operating capabilities, it will only shoot if authorized to do so by the operator in the control room, to ensure human judgment is exercised in such circumstances.
“As an emergency situation develops, with friendly human forces reaching the area, the robots will be able to identify them and will not open fire on them,” he said.
Goren began developing the robots together with a friend from Canada. Later the business connection with her was broken off, and he continued with the venture through Automotive Industries Ltd. of Nazareth. He covered most of the development cost with his own capital.
“Ben-Gurion Airport was a great inspiration for me to develop this system, after the clear needs for improving peripheral protection there were described to me,” Goren said. “Calculations we did showed that the monthly cost of providing security along the periphery fence with a manned patrol vehicle is about $60,000. The monthly cost of operating the robots will be half that.”
Representatives of overseas defense and security agencies have recently shown interest in purchasing the system, as have Israeli security entities.
“The outstanding advantage of a system like this is that the robots have no mother and no father,” he said. “This is a security concept, not a response to a military need. The idea is to let these vehicles merge into the territory, not to stand out and not to threaten, but to be sensitive and aware of any unusual development in the area defined for their operation.”