Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Surveillance robots that capture license plates appearing in Rockville retail parking lots

Montgomery County's increasing crime has apparently now gotten the attention of corporate boardrooms across America. Surveillance robots have begun popping up at major retailers and big box stores across the county in the late months of 2020. Walmart has been deploying these robots in their parking lots nationwide for several years, but they haven't been seen here much until now. The particular model pictured here at the CVS Pharmacy at 7809 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda is by LiveView Technologies of Orem, Utah.

If you haven't seen one of these up close, you may have heard it without even being on the CVS property. The robot talks out loud all day and all night, and can be heard over a block away, if not clearly. 

What is the robot doing? It is filming you, and capturing your license plate. No information on how long it stores your license plate, or what is done with that video, is posted on the robot. You can see that any movement within a certain radius of the robot triggers that blue laser light. There are thermal sensors, and the retailer has remote 24-7 access to the cameras and license plate information. A business can even use the same speakers the robot uses to jabber all night long to address patrons and trespassers alike from a remote location.

The robot has been seen recently at CVS stores in Rockville, Kensington, Silver Spring and Gaithersburg. There are two at the Lowe's in the Kentlands area of Gaithersburg.

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