Doctor Who had K-9, the robot dog that accompanied him on adventures through time and space. Now, Mountain View has K5, a 5-foot-tall, 300-pound robot security guard patrolling in the Bay Area. In fact, it will have four of them before the end of the year, according to KPIX 5 in San Francisco.
The devices are being built by Knightscope, a startup company based in Mountain View, California. The company, which says it has built seven of the robotic security guards, has been developing the technology behind the K5 since 2013, when it won the Startup Company of the Year award from the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Rise of the Machine Security Guards
Knightscope said its goal is to reduce crime by 50 percent. The squat, slow-moving sentries look more like a Doctor Who villain than one of his companions, and come equipped with an array of tools to help them in their quest to fight crime. Although they will not be armed with disintegration rays, or any other kind of weapon, the K5 units will come with heat detectors, GPS navigation, microphones, speakers, and even pollution and odor detectors.
They will also have a video camera capable of scanning license plate numbers, presumably to give out parking tickets, and running facial recognition software. A panic button located on the top can be pressed in case of emergency.
If an alert is pushed, the K5 machine can activate its sensors to record a variety of data. "Our approach alleviates any privacy concerns, engages the community on a social level to effectively crowdsource security, and provides an important feedback loop to the prediction engine," the company said on its Web site.
The K5 is not a drone. It is designed to operate autonomously without the need for a human operator.
"The K5 utilizes a combination of autonomous technology, robotics and predictive analytics to provide a commanding but friendly physical presence while gathering important real-time on-site data with its numerous sensors," according to the Knightscope Web site.
Data collected through the unit's sensors is processed through a predictive analytics engine, combined with existing business, government and social data sets, and then assigned an alert level that determines when the community and the authorities should be notified of a concern.
The company said the quickest avenue to commercialize its technology is in outdoor environments at corporate campuses, shopping centers and with private security companies. Tedious and monotonous monitoring will be handled by the K5, leaving strategic, "hands-on" activities to security personnel.
"Technology and robotics are making the concept of Precision Policing -- a systematic, proactive and almost precognitive approach to ensuring public safety -- a real possibility," said William Santana Li, chairman and CEO, writing in a company blog post.
The company said it has also received inquiries proposing a variety of use cases for the K5, including deployment in schools, hotels, auto dealerships, stadiums, casinos, law enforcement agencies, seaports and airports. Though, at the moment, the K5 still cannot handle stairs.
Posted: 2014-11-26 @ 3:08pm PT
K5, one blanket away from a drop in the bay.....
Posted: 2014-11-21 @ 11:15am PT
That's great! Steal a hubcap and then just step up on the curb - you're home free.