Indianapolis Motor Speedway to roll out security robot

IMS robot (Provided Photo/Sharp Electronics)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The newest four-wheeled machine coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has nothing to do with racing: It’s a security robot.

It won’t reach triple digit speeds, run a 500-mile race or douse itself in victory milk (although it is waterproof). Nonetheless, Mike Bates, security director at IMS, said the Sharp Intellos A-UGV will fit right in this May.

“We’re really the first sporting venue in the country that has this,” Bates said.

Bates said the robot is equipped with a 360-degree camera, all-terrain tires, sensors so it doesn’t run into anything, and two-way voice commands so the worker monitoring the camera can talk to fans and they can talk back.

“In the world we live in, with acts of terrorism, I think any soft target — if you want to call it that — is vulnerable,” Bates said. “Anything you can do to decrease that vulnerability is huge.”

The battery-operated machine weighs more than 300 pounds.

“Every six months, we’re going to re-evaluate as far as what it’s doing and what we need to change,” Bates said. “We’re kind of a test market for Sharp.”

The robot will get its first speedway experience at the Indianapolis Grand Prix. Track leaders plan to use it during the Indianapolis 500 and other big days at the track.

“I think it will definitely raise some eyebrows,” Bates said.

Officials said the robot will be marked with IMS logos.

Security workers can either manually control the robot or program it so it knows where to go. The machine will be monitored from the IMS Pagoda.