Streetwise robots

robot bullying

This year, robots will finally take to the streets. No, it's not to revolt against their human overlords (at least not yet).

A number of companies have developed robots that cruise the halls of hotels and hospitals, crack down on crime in malls, or just deliver a burrito a couple of blocks away. These robots use a combination of GPS, sensors and cameras to navigate the world without taking out bystanders.

They're already facing a backlash. A security robot deployed by the SF SPCA to clear out homeless encampments around its property was reportedly knocked over and smeared with feces by angry locals. And San Francisco recently passed regulations to limit the number of delivery robots on the streets. But these rolling helpers are probably just getting started, if they can avoid falling into fountains.

First published January 22, 2018: 1:11 PM ET