Saved By the Bot
Robocop is here to save the day. No I don't mean there's a superhuman android and they're not really cops, but robot security droids do exist. A Palo Alto startup called Knightscope brings us their K5 security robots. Weighing in at 300lb, each unit stands 5 feet tall and costs less than minimum wage to hire.
Equipped with a built in microphone, the droid can be used to communicate with people in the vicinity; useful forcrowd control and monitoring in emergency situations. These robots are meant to be assistants to human security personnel by keeping public spaces in check as they move through the areas. With an audio event detection system, they can pick up on loud noises like breaking glass or people screaming and will immediately send an alert to the system.
With a clean and futuristic look, the K5 droids are beginning to be implemented into our society already. Some malls and office buildings have started to employ the K5 units as security assistants in their buildings. Knightscope currently rents each unit out for $6.25 per hour, cheaper than hiring an extra person. Of course, these robots will eventually be developed and used for more than just security, as the startup continues to work on advancing their system. The K5 units could possibly be our best defense and first responders in any violent situations sooner than you think.
Using 360° HD and low-light infrared cameras, the units observe and report any activity back to the security network through uploads. Anyone who would think that it's funny to mess around with this robot will probably be taken aback when they realize that it can respond, even record their actions and alert the authorities as well. The system that the K5 units run on, uses the information they collect using robot observation to monitor and provide real-time reports on any suspicious activity in public places.
Their CEO Stacey Dean Stephens was a former law enforcement agent was the originator of the concept. Together with his co-founder William Li, Knightscope has raised almost $12 million for the development of their idea, to create a predictive network that uses the robot units to prevent crime. Though mall cops or security guards won't be replaced by these units anytime soon, we'll probably soon be seeing these K5's more often than not.