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robotic security guard
Credit: RAD

Robocops could start patrolling Orlando theme parks later this year; testing to begin this week

In a move that sounds like something straight out of a Hollywood film, Orlando theme parks like Disney World could soon welcome the ROAMEO 2.0 robot through their respective gates, ushering in–quite literally–a new era in theme park security, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

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The ROAMEO 2.0, which stands for Rugged Observation Assistance Mobile Electronic Officer, has an appearance that has been compared more to the Mars Rover than to a humanoid robot. It stands more than six feet tall and weighs 750 pounds, but you might not notice how heavy it is as it glides along smoothly, thanks to the wheels that hold up the massive robotic security officer.

Robotic Assistance Devices staff pose with ROAMEO, a security and concierge robot, at the 2021 IAAPA Expo. This unit is branded and destined for two Six Flags locations, where it will patrol the parking lot during the day and the park after hours (photo courtesy of RAD)

Credit: Robotic Assistance Devices

ROAMEO is the product of years of research and development by Robotic Assitance Devices, whose CEO Steven Reinharz, hopes that the new, fully autonomous bot will be a welcome addition to the theme park security teams at Florida’s theme parks. The security officer on wheels doubles as a concierge officer as well. It is built with multiple cameras, speakers, a communications system, a call button, and a touch screen.

ROAMEO was designed to sense when Guests are in restricted areas, like a young man who routinely broke into the Disney World Resort and was ultimately banned, and it even knows when a Guest isn’t wearing a face mask, as is currently required by many theme parks across the nation. But ROAMEO is capable of so much more. The exceptionally advanced robot can serve in other capacities, such as tour guide, a consultant for Guests needing directions, and an information guru for Guests who need to know wait time for rides, etc.

But as these machines begin patrolling at amusement parks, they raise questions about employment, security, and ethics. Though experts say robocops won’t be taking human jobs anytime soon, they acknowledge their use has to be closely monitored.

“In the theme park environment, they’re going to look great,” explains CEO Reinharz. “We’re going to put smiles on people’s faces.”

This week, a member of the ROAMEO regime will make its debut at the Six Flags theme park in Arlington, Texas, according to Jason Freeman, Vice President of Security and Safety for Six Flags. Next week, one of ROAMEO’s family members will be on patrol at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.

Reinharz says he has plans to deploy 100 ROAMEO units this year, and Orlando theme parks are his focus. He further says that his company is in talks with Orlando theme park operators, but didn’t give specific names of those operators.

“I expect to be in at least one theme park in Orlando by the end of the calendar year,” he said.

robotic assistance devices

Credit: RAD

A spokeswoman for Disney, Jacquee Wahler, said that at this time, Disney is not in talks with Robotic Assistance Devices. It is unclear if Universal Studios Orlando, SeaWorld, or Legoland have been in talks with RAD at this time.

How do you feel about being in the parks with robots serving as security officers? What problems do you foresee if the ROAMEO units are deployed at Disney World?

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!