Knightscope reveals robotic security guard


December 5, 2013

Knightscope's Autonomous Data Machines are designed to help "predict and prevent" local crime

Knightscope's Autonomous Data Machines are designed to help "predict and prevent" local crime

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Silicon Valley startup Knightscope Inc. is developing an "Autonomous Data Machine" with the potential to perform the oftentimes monotonous task of keeping watch over property more cost effectively and comprehensively than a human security guard. The company today revealed it has already started securing beta customers for its first two models, the Knightscope K5 and K10.

The robots, which share a passing resemblance to R2-D2, collect real-time data via a network of sensors. These sensors can include a 360-degree high definition video camera, high quality microphones, thermal imaging sensor, infrared sensor, radar, lidar, ultrasonic speed and distance sensors, air quality sensor, and optical character recognition technology for scanning things like license plates.

The data the robots collect would be fed into a centralized data center with law enforcement also able to access data in real time, giving them a unique vantage point to assess the situation before arrival. As well as providing real time alerts, Knightscope says companies will be able to analyze historical data collected over time to help predict crime and allow companies to make better business decisions.

Depending on the sensor loadout, the units can be used to monitor differences in temperature; calculate the traveling speed and distance of surrounding objects/people; observe night time activity using infrared technology and provide precision 3D mapping of an area. There are also plans to include facial recognition technology to help recognize an offender or wanted persons once the technology has been perfected.

“We founded Knightscope in response to the President and Sandy Hook’s calls to action and with the ultimate goal of providing an avenue for all Americans to join the fight against crime,” said William Santana Li, Chairman and CEO, Knightscope.

Knightscope says the K10 model is intended for vast open areas and on private roads, while the K5 robot is better suited to more space-constrained environments. While security is the most obvious application for the technology, Knightscope anticipates the units could be used for everything from detailed traffic analysis to factory inspections.

The K5 Beta prototype will be on display today at the Plug and Play Winter Expo in Sunnyvale, California and beta testing is due to commence at the end of this year.

The following video gives a brief overview of the Knightscope K5.

Source: Knightscope Inc. via The New York Times

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Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

Why does it resemble the Dalek from the Dr. Who series?

Vincent Bevort

I wonder when will they begin to arm this machine. Will machine require an operator before it uses the "Taser".

John Tagamolila

I can only see it being useful for flow data analysis.

Oskars Bormanis

These things have a place, a place where there are no humans. To protect stock in storage, shops after everyone leaves, doing the late hour rounds in office blocks. Not to take action but to monitor and report.

Humans should be put in charge of protecting humans. Parents or a paid guard that will tackle someone to the ground, that will pick a kid up and rush them away, start cpr if one collapses etc.

I don't like the way it would track kids and parents too. I'd hate to think it would follow a child because it predicted they would be naughty or something.


"Why does it resemble the Dalek from the Dr. Who series? -Vincent Bevort"

I agree. It looks menacing. If Cylons could lay eggs, I think this is what they would look like.

Jay Lloyd

This is just a surveillance device. All it does is send its sensor output back to a central site to be evaluated by people. Hopefully, it is "smart" enough to perform its patrols without colliding with objects or people and avoid falling off a curb or down a flight of stairs.

The big problem is: Who or what evaluates the sensor feed? No one can watch a video stream where not much is happening for any length of time without "zoning out". Some kind of automated filtering will be needed to alert the monitoring folks when something really needs attention. Otherwise, all this thing does is build a database that can be referenced AFTER something happens.

Les LaZar

Needs Taser as posts proclaim & stun gun. Urge armoring body & make mobile for Outdoor patrols IE outside chem plants. Best robo security the new ED 209 from new Robocop movie pending. That's the best.

Stephen Russell

A criminal can just put a bag over it to blind it

Jon Shurtleff

Big data, police state political dissidents beware.

Those who would give up a little liberty for a little security will deserve and receive neither liberty or security.

How would this robot stop Sandy Hook or any other tragedy? It simply can't it just alerts the police who still would take 20 minutes to arrive. Even armed it could not because it is a target like uniformed armed guards the first to be taken out and clearly identifiable. Next suicidal whack jobs would be ecstatic to have their crimes further immortalized with live coverage 15 minutes of fame all the world could watch over and over again.

Joseph Mertens
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