Silicon Valley is now in the safe and secure hands of 5-foot tall robots that are equipped with cameras, sensors, microphones and many other impressive features.
They go by the name Knightscope, and their purpose is to detect suspicious behavior. A robotics firm in Mountain View is already putting them to use and says that dozens could be on patrol duty by the end of the year.
The inventors have high hopes for the Knightscope K5 robot security guards, claiming that it will reduce crime by an ambitious 50 percent. They hope to deploy the robots in outdoor settings such as college and corporate campuses, malls and even local neighborhoods.
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“Imagine a friend that can see, hear, feel and smell, that would tirelessly watch over your corporate campus or neighborhood, keep your loved ones safe and put a smile on everyone passing by,” the firm said. “Imagine if we could utilize technology to make our communities stronger and safer.”
It all seems possible given the unique set of features on the robot. Standing at five feet tall and weighing 300 pounds, the Knightscope K5 robot is equipped with surveillance cameras and sensors. It also uses a combination of wheel encoders, inertial measurements and laser scanning to navigate efficiently with GPS, and it can scan up to 300 car registration plates by the minute.
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Cofounder Stacy Stephens further explained how the Knightscope K5 robot would work in a burglary situation.
“... The robot is looking at the video, listening for glass breakage, any loud sound that breaking in would cause,” she told CBS. “We’ll get the license plate, picture of the vehicle, geotag location, and time.
“It has a LIDAR (light image detection and ranging) that’s doing a 3D map. It will geofence itself and give itself a perimeter within which it will operate,” she continued. “And it moves around within that perimeter freely and it chooses its own path.”
The robots even have a button on the top of their heads that people can push if they need help.
While this innovation is incredibly exciting for the tech industry, some are concerned that it will soon put human security guards out of work. Knightscope addressed this issue in a blog post, saying: “I believe robots are the perfect tools to handle the monotonous and sometimes dangerous work in order to free up humans to more judiciously address activities requiring higher-level thinking, hands-on encounters or tactical planning.”