Lowe’s Incorporates Security Robots the Public Has Nicknamed “SnitchBOTs”

Customers at Lowe’s stores across Philadelphia have encountered an unexpected sight in the parking lots over the last month — 5-foot-tall, egg-shaped security robots that makes a cosmic whirring sound as they glide across the pavement. What’s most surprising about the robots is that they have survived for several weeks in a city with a sordid history with robots. Some have already nicknamed them “snitchBOTs.” The autonomous outdoor security robots are part of a pilot program to heighten the security and safety of Lowe’s locations. The robots are also being employed at locations in California, North Carolina, Washington state, and Washington, DC. The K5 robots use 16 microphones and a range of sensors, including lidar and sonar, to detect anomalies and report them in real-time to Lowe’s central monitoring team. The robots also have four wide-angle cameras that take 360º HD footage. They’re also equipped with thermal anomaly detection and “people detection” sensors to spot individuals in places they shouldn't be or at times of the day when they shouldn't be there. While the robots don’t have facial recognition, they are able to recognize license plates and mobile devices if that information has previously been identified by Lowe’s and entered into a database. How effective the security robots will be remains to be seen.