A start-up called Cobalt Robotics is making roving security robots for use in commercial buildings -- whether that's an office, data center or a hospital.
The robot could help companies save money on human security guards: businesses spent almost $68 billion on physical security in 2016, according to industry research by Stratistics MRC. That number is expected to surpass $125 billion by 2022, with a hefty chunk of spending going to human security guards indoors.
CNBC caught up with Cobalt Robotics CEO and co-founder Travis Deyle to see the machines in action at Fuseproject, the design studio of Yves Behar. Fuseproject helped create the look and feel of the Cobalt, which is more like consumer hardware than a piece of office equipment.
Deyle founded Cobalt in 2016 after a stint working on a smart contact lens project for Google X, the search giant's experimental research lab.
At one time, Google X included a large robotics business. But Deyle actually stayed away from that, trying to expand his horizons while he was there.
When he left Google X, he wanted to build a pure software business and avoid the cost of manufacturing hardware. But Deyle fell back in love with robotics, after teaming with CTO Erik Schluntz, an engineer who turned down a gig at SpaceX to chase entrepreneurial dreams.
Deyle explained, "Our system provides one person with situational awareness across an entire space at one time. The idea is to let machines do what they're good at and people do what they're good at."
Cobalt robots can: scan an employee's or a visitor's badge; detect open doors, water leaks, spills or intrusions, among other things. When they sense an anomaly in a building, they can alert a security specialist, who can send a guard to patrol in person as needed.