ATLANTA - Taylor Swift was there, Beyoncé was there, and, of course, Freddie Falcon is always somewhere out on the field.
But around Mercedes-Benz Stadium, nobody stops fans in their tracks quite like Benzie.
Benzie — in case you haven’t seen it on Instagram or TikTok — is a pioneering part of the stadium’s security team: a sleek, roving robot dog that patrols the property after-hours.
"We always want to be on the forefront of technology and innovation," says Greg Overstreet, the stadium’s senior director of security. "We do it in every aspect of what we do here in the stadium, and Benzie’s an attention-getter! Everyone loves him unless you’re up to no good."
Designed by Philadelphia-based Asylon, Benzie is essentially a mobile security camera. Equipped with a dozen electronics "eyes," engineers say Benzie can spot possible problems and beam back information before a human security guard is ever placed in the line of potential danger.
"You get situational awareness, you get video streamed in real-time," says Asylon’s COO and co-founder Brent McLaughlin. "Your team can come into situations with more information than if they were just there by themselves."
In other words, while Benzie gathers information, its flesh-and-blood colleagues behind the scenes can assess it — making Benzie man’s best friend, but not man’s replacement.
"[One] of the big faux pas is, you know, robots are replacing jobs," says Asylon chief revenue officer Michael Quiroga. "Really, what we’re doing is that we’re augmenting a lot of the presence for dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks that really the human condition isn’t ideal for."
Mercedes-Benz Stadium executives say theirs is the first stadium in the world to use a robot security dog, powering it through an existing partnership with AT&T.
"We’re supporting technologies that enable so many things that we don’t see or think about behind-the-scenes that make us all safe and secure," says AT&T VP of Wireless Engineering Todd Zeiler. "Not just people first responders, but dog first responders."
And security aside, Benzie’s already becoming something of a new stadium mascot. Or, you could say, a "paw patroller" for the future…except, the future is now.