Silicon Valley Deploys Crime-Fighting Robots To Patrol The Streets Day and Night
In the latest development from Silicon Valley, a Palo Alto startup called Knightscope has developed a fleet of crime-fighting machinery for a safer tomorrow.
The Knightscope K5 Security Robot has begun patrolling the streets to fight crime, and these robots have the capability to see, hear, feel and smell. These robots are cute and inviting to the public. “We’ve had people go up and hug it, and embrace it for whatever reason,” said Stacy Stephens, co-founder of the borderline cartoonishly named Knightscope.
“The first thing that’s going to happen is the burglar is going to spot the robot. And unfortunately, criminals are inherently lazy. They’re not looking for something that’s going to be confrontational, they’re looking for something that’s going to be an easy target,” Stacy Stephens told CBS San Francisco.
“They see the robot and maybe they move down to the next place down the street,” she added.
These five-foot-tall, 300-pound security bots’ control and movements are based on the same technology that power the new Google Self-Driving cars. The K5 collects important real-time and on-site data through its numerous sensors, which is then processed through a predictive analytics engine. The data is then combined with existing business, government, and crowdsourced social data sets to determine if there is a concern or threat in the area. If so, an report is created with an appropriate alert level and a notification is sent to the community and authorities through the Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC), a browser based user interface.
The units upload what they see to a backend security network using 360-degree high-definition and low-light infrared cameras. The security bots also have a built-in microphone can be used to communicate with passers bys. The units monitor for various “crime triggers” within a predefined parameter including the sounds of breaking glass or shouting etc. Once it is triggered, the bot then captures geo-tags, photos, video, nearby license plates, facial recognition, timestamps etc. which can help in solving a crime that was committed.
Malls and office buildings are also starting to employ the K5 units as security assistants. Last summer, 24 of these security minders have been deployed around Silicon Valley on corporate campuses and in data centers, and in one highly publicized event last May, two K5s patrolled the Stanford Shopping Center. The K5 is looking for mall cops or at least to act as an assistant mall cop.
In order to prevent crime by using robots, CEO Stacey Dean Stephens, a former law enforcement agent, came up with the idea to construct a predictive network. So far, he and his co-founder William Li have raised close to $12 million in funding from Konica Minolta and others to build on this idea.
While Knightscope doesn’t think its robots will replace mall cops or security guards in the near future, the company does see them as assistants to human security teams.
The startup currently rents K5 through Knightscope’s website. The pricing model is also expressed as follows:
“For your reference, we operate on a Machine-as-a-Service (MaaS) business model and our preliminary pricing for a well-equipped machine is $4,500 per month for 24/7 operations equating to approximately $6.25 per hour (!).”
For teenagers and other bullies out there who wish to kick or push these robots need to be cautious, as they may be shocked to find these robots can talk back to them, capture their behaviour on film and notify authorities about their misdeeds.