Silicon Valley Witnessed Changing of the Robot Guard

They do not sleep, do not take a break and they are cheaper than human security.

Last week, Microsoft’s campus in Silicon Valley was monitored by newly developed security robots, which could soon replace a number of security personnel.
These autonomous robots, called K5, look like giant cones, and remind us a bit of R2 D2 from the Star Wars franchise. They are developed by Californian start-up company Knightscope.

Apart from their obvious benefits, such as perpetual attentiveness, high-power computer based on artificial intelligence software, numerous integrated cameras, pressure and CO2 level sensors, microphones, alarms and other gadgets, they should cost their owners half the price of the men they should replace.

“This takes away the monotonous and sometimes dangerous work, and leaves the strategic work to law enforcement or private security, depending on the application, „says co-founder of Knightscape, Stacy Stephens.K5-2.0-Red.jpg-380×380

Much of the space inside the robot is occupied by a large battery, sufficient for 24 hours of continuous operation, and it takes only 15-20 minutes to recharge. Robots communicate via Wi-Fi network with each other, and their HQ, from where their operations can be supervised and their systems accessed at any moment. They use GPS and lasers to navigate their respective patrol routs.

Although K5 looks quite friendly and is not equipped with any weapons, one cannot say they are completely harmless. In the event of possible security breach, it can send an instant message to the HQ, and sound the alarm. If you try to stop it, the quiet alarm will go off as a warning. If you’re persistent in interfering with its operations, it will sound an ear-piercing alarm, thus alerting operators who can then use robot’s speakers and microphone to contact you. In case you need help, and the robot is around, you can activate the button on top of their ‘heads’ that will alarm their HQ.

In Knightscape they anticipate that first commercial versions of the K5 will be deployed by the end of the year, and claim to have quite a number of inquiries, especially from large security companies.

But before they can start selling them, they must resolve a few problems these robots have, such as maintaining their balance. Apparently, just a few centimeters of the elevation gap, such as between a sidewalk and the road, is sufficient for K5 to get stuck or flip over. Maybe they should have jet-pack sets installed?