Crime: Robotic Vigilante Patrols Atlanta
Robotic vigilante hits street as homemade 'Bum Bot' patrols in AtlantaPublished: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | 11:15 AM ETCanadian Press: Greg Bluestein, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ATLANTA - Cars passing O'Terrill's pub screech to a halt at the sight of a 136 kilogram, waist-high robot marked "SECURITY" rolling through downtown long after dark.
The regulars hardly glance outside. They've seen bar owner Rufus Terrill's invention on patrol before - its bright red lights and even brighter spot light blazing, infrared video camera filming and water cannon at the ready in the spinning turret on top."You're trespassing. That's private property," Terrill scolds an older man through the robot's loudspeaker. The man is sitting at the edge of the driveway to a child care centre down the street. "Go on."The man's hands go up and he shuffles into the shadows.
Almost immediately, a group of men behind him scatters too.The Bum Bot's reputation, it seems, has preceded it.The electronic vigilante - on the beat since September - has enraged neighbourhood activists, who have threatened protests. Street people say it's intimidating. And homeless advocates question the intentions of its inventor, who uses the Bum Bot as a marketing tool and a political prop.