the mobile virtual guard

A joined project by the VUB AI-lab together with Periphere and the IMEC, financed by the IWT.


The main goal of the project was to develop a demonstrator of RoboGuard, a commercial virtual guard. This means that the robot should allow remote monitoring through a mobile platform using onboard cameras and sensors. The project intended to develop an affordable technology infrastructure that reduces the burden caused by the many false alarms. This will be done by giving alarm monitoring rooms access to camera images enabling them to take qualified reactions.  Cost reduction and greater security should convince companies to migrate to this new security architecture.


More and more companies are connected permanently to the Internet.  This enables a performant and permanent communication between an alarm monitoring central and the company that needs to be monitored.  This is realized using the existing data networks, avoiding the need for specific communication channels or dial in points for the alarm handling.

Instead of using a multitude of cameras and expensive cabling to achieve the camera monitoring, the idea is to offer a mobile security robot.  This mobile robot should in case of an alarm by the traditional alarm system move to the place where the alarm was generated. The guard at the alarm monitoring central or whoever receiving the alarm (ex. owner) will be able to visualize the images generated by the robot from within a web browser. The robot is operated remotely by the guard in the alarm monitoring central. The robot transmits the information it generates through wireless Ethernet to the data network of the company. Through the Internet, with the option of a  VPN (Virtual Private Network), the images and sensor data transmitted by the robot are visualized to either alarm monitoring rooms or at another location by an authorized person. The use of a mobile robot not only generates a cost reduction, it also has the benefit of not violating peoples privacy as it cannot be done unnoticed, and it has a deterring effect on whoever entered the place in an illegal way.

The main task of the VUB AI-Lab was the development of the robot hardware and its software. Some of the results can be found in the references listed below. Please note that the online papers are draft versions of the actual publications for which references are given.

Related Publications

Andreas Birk and Holger Kenn
RoboGuard, a Teleoperated Mobile Security Robot (bibtex)

Control Engineering Practice
Volume 10, No. 11, pp. 1259 – 1264
Elsevier Science, 2002

Andreas Birk, Holger Kenn, and Luc Steels
Programming with Behavior Processes (bibtex)
Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Volume 39, pp. 115-127
Elsevier Science, 2002

Andreas Birk and Holger Kenn
Applying Behavior-Oriented Robotics to a Mobile Security Device
R. Kowalczyk, S.W. Loke, N.E. Reed, G. Williams (Eds.),
Advances in Artificial Intelligence, LNAI 2112,
Springer, 2001

Andreas Birk and Holger Kenn
An Industrial Application of Behavior-Oriented Robotics
Proc. of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA’01
IEEE Press, 2001