"Robots are going to be everywhere and that raises the question of how they are protecting themselves and if they really are safe. The manufacturers and users of robots have to be aware that if they do not protect the robots they can suffer serious consequences in the medium term". Original article published by Enrique Rodal at www.spri.eus
Different studies and experts predict that robots will be very present in our daily life in less than five years. Not only in the factories, as it has been happening in recent decades, but also at home helping with housework or caring after people, in shops attending customers or in hospitals for the supervision of patients or at surgical interventions .
One of the main concerns linked to the proliferation of robots focuses on security; physical security and cybersecurity. The new robots are collaborative (cobots), equipped with sensors that are capable of detecting human presence and limiting their movements so as not to cause any damage. However, in terms of cybersecurity, there is still much to be done. This last one is the market niche that has been detected by Alias Robotics, which wants to become a world leader in robot cybersecurity.
The drivers of Alias Robotics have extensive experience in the field of robotics and business. The main core of the company is made up of the creators of Erle Robotics, a firm born in Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2014, dedicated to the manufacturing of small robots, which was acquired by the Swiss company Acutronic at the end of 2016. Its co-founder, David Mayoral, has spent the last few years traveling around the world to ask robot manufacturers how they solved the problem of cybersecurity in their devices and its conclusion has been that "almost nobody took into account security in robotics, so that we detect a market opportunity". At the end of 2017, he founded Alias Robotics, along with 11 other partners. And, almost immediately, joined a cybersecurity accelerator based in London where to polish their business project.
"Robots are going to be everywhere and that raises the question of how they are protecting themselves and if they really are safe. The manufacturers and users of robots have to be aware that if they do not protect the robots they can suffer serious consequences in the medium term. A hacked industrial robot can stop a chain of production during a determined time with the costs that this entails. In the case of an assistance robot, the consequences can be even more serious and affect the user's physical security. All this without forgetting the impact that it may have to get data related to robots lost or stolen" David Mayoral warns.
His solution to this problem is called RIS (Robot Immune System), "a hardware that offers protection for robots and all its components. "This device can be connected to the robot, and is equipped with artificial intelligence technologies and 'machine learning' that allow you to understand what is happening in the robot and its environment and Act accordingly. Constantly analyzes what is happening and is learning from your experience. Based on that experience, he is able to determine if something is abnormal or dangerous,"explains the CEO of Alias Robotics. RIS is still under development and is expected to arrive on the market by the end of 2018. The challenges of Alias Robotics also include incorporating 3-4 people into its workforce in the coming months and, next year, search for strategic financial partners to help them go to the market.
Alias Robotics has joined the Basque cybersecurity ecosystem, in which "very important steps are being taken", according to David Mayoral.
"The Basque Government and SPRI are strengthening this Basque cybersecurity ecosystem by investing in projects like ours or by launching the Basque CyberSecurity Center. In fact, when we were in the London incubator, the people of the Basque CyberSecurity Center came to visit to know what was being done. It is important that we promote the cybersecurity sector because, in the end, everything happens because companies are created, these companies are successful and people do important things that have visible at a European and global level".