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Robots roam Pechanga Resort Casino to enhance security

Robots roam Pechanga Resort Casino to enhance security
The K5 security robot patrols the hotel lobby and casino floor at Pechanga Resort Casino. It is one of two robots used at the Temecula site to enhance security. (Pechanga Resort Casino)

A growing number of hotels have begun employing robots to deliver towels, toothpaste and other items to guests — an addition viewed primarily as a novelty to appeal to tech-loving travelers.

But less than a year after the mass shooting near a Las Vegas hotel, a Southern California casino resort has added camera-wielding robots to enhance security.

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The Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula last month began employing two robots — one that stands motionless in the valet parking area and a mobile rocket-shaped automaton that patrols the lobby area — in addition to the 300-person security staff and thousands of mounted surveillance cameras.

Hotels across the country have enhanced security since the Oct. 1 massacre in Las Vegas, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Assn., the trade group for the nation’s hotel industry. The mass shooting, carried out from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, killed 58 people and wounded 851 others attending a nearby outdoor concert.

The Mandalay Bay hotel, where gunman Stephen Paddock was a guest, put 24-hour security guards at the elevator banks shortly after the shooting.

Pechanga’s vice president of public safety, Robert Krauss, said he was working on adding robot security guards several months before the Las Vegas shooting and now hopes that cybercrime-busters can help deter future tragedies.

“I’m always looking for new technologies,” he said. “I’m always looking for new ways of preventing crimes.”

The robots, built by Mountain View, Calif.-based Knightscope and already used in malls and sporting arenas, can send live images of what they see to a security command post, where security experts can either direct the mobile robot to move closer to a suspicious person or object or simply zoom in with their high-definition cameras.

Krauss said he already is planning to add another robot with infrared technology near the pool area to look out for guests jumping into the water after the pool is closed.

“I think this is a huge deterrent,” he said.

But the move to deploy robots for security purposes hasn’t been completely smooth.

Last year, a Knightscope robot at a Georgetown restaurant and office complex rolled into a fountain and was nearly destroyed. Last April, a drunk man allegedly knocked one of the Knightscope robots over in Mountain View, Calif.

Knightscope Executive Vice President Stacy Stephens said the robot fell into the fountain because of loose paving stones at the complex and that a new algorithm for the robot should prevent that from happening again.

He added that a resort in Arizona has also started using the company’s robots to enhance security and he expects more hotels and resorts to do the same in the future.

4:30 p.m.: This article was updated to included comments from Knightscope Executive Vice President Stacy Stephens.

This article was originally published at 12:25 p.m.

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