RoboCop Patrols Microsoft’s Parking Lot

Living in New York, everyone is focused on crime.  We event have a data bank of daily crime called, COMPSTAT.   However, recent waves of bad policing has made cops embrace new technologies to protect themselves from public scrutiny.  The question is not if will robots replace meter maids, traffic cops and other tertiary policing, but when…

As an example, earlier this week Microsoft hired high-tech security guards to parole the streets, protecting people in California’s Silicon Valley. The Knightscope K5 robots are fighting crime with lasers, GPS and heat-detecting technology. The R2-D2 look alikes patrol autonomously in the set perimeter and record activity around its path.

Providing a “commanding but friendly presence,” the robots were hired to intimidate potential criminals. The new high-tech security guards have the ability to catch a criminal red-handed. “The robot is looking at the video, listening for glass breakage, any loud sound that breaking in would cause,” Knightscope co-founder Stacy Stephens says. “We’ll get the license plate, picture of the vehicle, geotag location, and time.”

The robots stand five-feet-tall and weigh 300 pounds. The robots have laser scanners, a thermal imaging system and the ability to read 300 car license plates in a minute. Its 360-degree HD  surveillance camera streams live video to a command center. And yes, the robots can also detect odors.

But these real-life R2-D2s are not equipped with weapons, and can only contact human security officers to the scene after sounding off an alarm when something goes wrong.  The robots last an entire day with just one charge. When the robot notices its battery is low, it will plus itself into a charger for 20 minutes until it is fully charged. Silicon Valley’s computer giant Microsoft have already stationed four robot security guards on its campus. Ideal for college campuses, malls, or other busy outdoors areas, Knightscope says that approximately four dozen companies remain on a waiting list for the K5 robots.

K5 is not unique but part of new wave of robotic recruits for the policing of the future, and you thought it was just a movie.

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