The K5 Robot: A Roomba for Crime

When a roving security robot called the K5 was unveiled late last week by a Silicon Valley startup called Knightscope, the company went a little nuts with its monikers. The press release described the machine as “R2-D2 meets Robocop.” But Knightscope founder and CEO William Li said he prefers “R2-D2 meets Batman.”

That’s not it either, really. After seeing it in action, I can confirm that the K5, which is shaped like a 5-foot-tall bullet, has very little in common with the Dark Knight. It doesn’t exactly leap into action wearing a cape to prevent a crime; it has a hard enough time figuring out whether a human being has drawn a gun. (Li laments that it’s very easy to get false positives with children’s toy guns.)

Here’s what the K5 would do in a shooting situation: Its cameras might make out some humans lying down all of a sudden, while others are running around. Its electronic ears would detect elevated noise levels. Then the software would put two and two together and contact its superiors.

The K5 Robot

Oh, and it can monitor social media feeds nearby for words of distress. The best you could do for a bat signal would be to tweet at it.

Aside from all that, the K5 can read license plates in the parking lot, scanning for stolen vehicles or sex offenders. It can be programmed to wish your customers a nice day, or to whistle reassuringly down a dark alley. And all for the low, low cost of about $6.50 an hour, a boon for the turnover-ridden security guard business. (The company’s business model is “machine-as-a-service,” i.e., it rents them out.) Read More

Source : Mashable


Posted in Tech News

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