In today’s increasingly connected and technological world, security has become a priority in a number of environments, from business and industry to public spaces. Unmanned surveillance vehicles, also known as unmanned security systems, are transforming the way security challenges are addressed. One of Robotnik’s focuses is the development and manufacture of security-oriented unmanned ground vehicles. This article outlines, based on the company’s experience, the differences between unmanned surveillance vehicles and drones, what an autonomous security robot is and how robots can be used to improve security.


Although the terms “unmanned surveillance vehicles” and “drones” are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between them.

Drones are unmanned aerial devices that can fly and perform a variety of tasks, including some surveillance-related tasks. They are therefore Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

Unmanned surveillance vehicles, on the other hand, refer to a broader spectrum that includes terrestrial, aquatic or aerial devices (drones are included in this category, although they are not the only type of unmanned aerial device that exists) that are used for surveillance and security. Thus, unmanned surveillance vehicles are not limited only to the drone category, but also include terrestrial robots and unmanned aquatic vehicles.

Each type of unmanned surveillance vehicle has specific characteristics and capabilities that make them suitable for different scenarios and security requirements.
Drones are especially useful for covering large remote access areas in a rapid manner and providing insights that would otherwise not be possible. Their use is particularly useful for monitoring forest fires or for some military operations.

On the other hand, unmanned ground and underwater surveillance vehicles offer particular benefits and characteristics that are different from aerial ones. For example, for patrolling and other inspection and maintenance tasks in specific areas (such as warehouses, corporations, remote infrastructure or similar areas), security UGVs (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) are an effective solution. This IEEE Spectrum article discusses RB-WATCHER, an example of a safety UGV developed by Robotnik.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) have the navigation and protection sensing necessary to carry out oceanographic missions such as shipwreck exploration, environmental and research purposes, among others.


An autonomous security robot is a kind of unmanned surveillance vehicle that is equipped with advanced technology to perform surveillance tasks autonomously. These robots are designed to operate autonomously, with no need for constant human intervention. They use sensors, cameras, artificial intelligence algorithms and navigation systems to detect and respond to security situations in real time.

Autonomous security robots can patrol designated areas on a regular basis or according to a pre-set schedule. They can monitor and record images and videos, detect suspicious movements, recognise faces and send alerts in case of intrusion or unusual activity. Some security robots also include temperature detection capabilities, number plate identification and two-way communication to interact with people.


Security robots are being used in several industries and environments to improve security and surveillance, as shown in these use cases. Some of the common applications include:

  • Business and industrial security: Autonomous security robots can patrol around industrial and business facilities, monitor restricted areas and detect suspicious activity. This helps prevent theft, property damage and security incidents. Depending on the robot, it can patrol indoor areas, outdoor areas, or both at the same time.
  • Surveillance in public spaces: Security robots are already being used in parks, car parks, shopping malls, university campuses and other public spaces to monitor areas and improve people’s safety. They can detect suspicious behavior, identify abandoned objects and provide assistance in case of emergencies.
  • Security in warehousing and logistics infrastructures: Security robots can monitor warehouses and distribution centres to prevent theft, detect unauthorised activity, detect open doors or windows, and ensure the safety of stored products. They can also identify intrusions in real time and alert the appropriate security personnel for rapid response.


Unmanned surveillance vehicles, including autonomous security robots, are playing an increasingly important role in security. These devices use advanced technology, such as sensors, cameras and AI algorithms, to patrol, monitor and detect anomalous or potentially dangerous situations in real time. By complementing and supporting traditional security systems, unmanned surveillance vehicles improve the efficiency of surveillance tasks, enabling faster response and more effective risk prevention.

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