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New Security Guards At Pechanga Are A Little Robotic, And That's The Point

TEMECULA (CBSLA) -- A new security guard at Pechanga Resort has patrons turning heads and doing double takes.

When people see "Buddy" on the job, they can't help it. Buddy is a robot. And he's moving around the lobby on his own.

KCAL9's Tina Patel reports from the resort, where Buddy is getting high praise.

"In case you are wondering, I am a security robot," says Buddy. "Nice to see you here."

Pechanga, like every casino in the country, has hundreds of security cameras throughout the property.

So why add a robot?

"The world that we're in today, we got to be forward-thinking and creative and out of the box," says Robert Krauss, vice president of public safety for Pechanga.

Knauss says he was already looking at ways to increase security when the shooting in Las Vegas happened. The robot can move through crowds with high definition, audio and video recorders as well as thermal imaging.

No one is using a remote control to program Buddy. He uses his own sensors to determine where to go and what to patrol.

"It gives us a different perception of what we're seeing on the floor. So most cameras are up high and they see different things. This gives us an eye-level view; it's moving," said Knauss.

Buddy has a companion, Rudy, a stationary robot that scans everyone coming in and out of the casino.

Buddy and Rudy have been on the job for a couple of weeks. Knauss wasn't sure if people would have privacy concerns but says the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

"Is it going to keep us safe? That's always a plus," says Dimitra Thomas, a resort visitor.

"It's a great way to stop crime without people feeling like somebody is on me, they're watching me," said Silk Fyne.

Knauss is hoping to add more robots in more areas of the resort soon but he wants to make it perfectly clear that the robots won't be taking away human jobs.

"I kind of think of this like a carpenter's hammer. It's a tool. The hammer doesn't put the carpenter out of work. Buddy is not going to put anybody out of work here, either," Knauss says.

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