Robot Assistance Devices plans for growth

Company president discusses ‘robots-as-a-service’
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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif.—Robotic Assistance Devices sees a future for robots in physical security and plans to be a leader in that trend. 

“There is [an] absolute inevitability of robots in physical security. Any way you slice it, it makes sense because it’s a continuation of a trend that's been going on for the last 50 years—and that trend is simply using electronic security to bolster and improve an enterprise’s layered physical security program,” Steve Reinharz, CEO of Robotic Assistance Devices, told Security Systems News.

The company currently has three locations: the headquarters based here, an office in Montreal and an office in Toronto. RAD has budgeted for three to five more locations for 2017. “We are going to be following our major demand, so, we haven’t picked those locations yet,” Reinharz said. These locations will be staffed “with qualified technicians who are able to go and do field work on the robots, dispatch the robots, train the robots, work with the staff, work with the customer staff, sit with the customers,” Reinharz said.

The company in late April launched in Canada at the Security Canada East show in Montreal.

“We’re coming out of final development for the first production robots. We’re racking up what we call ‘robotic reservations,’ because we have a situation where we have demand far exceeding supply,” Reinharz said. “Lead time is three [to] four months.”

RAD’s focus is currently in industrial and in critical infrastructure applications. “We want to focus on oil and gas and mining and start to introduce various solutions in those industries.”

Reinharz believes the company is well positioned in the market. “I would expect in five years we would have a couple thousand robots performing security functions across North America,” he said. “We have a goal of capturing and dominating the security robotic business. … I think that we are in the right position to do that.”

What is RAD’s distribution model? “We have a three-tiered model. We’ll work directly with end users, we’ll work with guarding companies, and we’re also working to set up a dealer base,” Reinharz said. RAD is currently working with more than 15 systems integrators and more than 10 guarding companies, and these companies collectively represent about 75,000 end users, Reinharz estimated.

“In all cases, the robots are always rented and maintenance, service and support is always the primary responsibility of Robotic Assistance Devices. … I call it ‘robots-as-a-service,’” he said. 

Reinharz noted that RAD is starting with a focus on security, but its name leaves the company open to expand into other uses and industries where robots could prove to be useful. “That’s why we didn’t call it Security Robots, or anything like that; we called it Robotic Assistance Devices—truly with the intent of creating a company that spans different industries to assist whatever [a company’s] goals are in that industry,” he said.

Reinharz identified agriculture as a potential industry that RAD could assist.

RAD was a first-time exhibitor at ISC West 2017. Reinharz said the show met expectations; the team met with hundreds of attendees. “For me, the highlight was the Mission 500 race,” Reinharz said. One of RAD’s robots participated in the 2k walk this year.