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Dallas airport uses robocops to enforce mask policy

April 8, 2022, 3:11 PM UTC

The rise of the robots is becoming a very real thing.

Dallas Love Field has begun testing robotic assistant devices to ensure that passengers at the nation’s fourth-busiest airport are complying with airport rules—and warn them if they’re not.

The Security Control Observation Towers (SCOT for short) are located near baggage claim and near security checkpoints at the airport. They are able to determine whether a passenger is wearing a face mask, which is still mandated in all airports throughout the country.

If they’re not, SCOT might issue a verbal warning, which could escalate in volume and severity if the infraction is not corrected. The system can also call on-site security or the police if necessary.

Love Field is one of two airports in the country testing the seven-foot-tall SCOT kiosks. (The other was not named, but the SCOT kiosk reportedly watches the parking garages to prevent break-ins.) Airports are able to set the rules for each unit.

At present, Love Field is simply testing the towers, and it’s not certain whether they will become permanent fixtures.

Airports aren’t the only business relying on robocops these days. A robotic security guard named ROAMEO (Rugged Observation Assistance Mobile Electronic Officer) made its debut at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington three months ago. Another began patrolling Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California, in February. But the company behind the technology is especially focused on Orlando, home of Universal Studios and Walt Disney World.

Like SCOT, ROAMEO recognizes when people are in restricted areas and determines when they’re not wearing face masks. It can also provide information on ride wait times and tell people how to get to certain attractions.

Detractors of the robotic security guards question their effectiveness and note the risk of personal information being stored without people’s consent.

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