Startup Knightscope is preparing to Roll out Robot Patrols
- By Matt Holden
- Nov 14, 2014
Knightscope, a startup based in Mountain View, California, has been working on a robot known as the K5 since 2013. The robots are five-foot-tall and weigh 300 pounds. Seven have been built so far, and the company plans to deploy four before the end of the year at an unnamed technology company in the area. The robots are designed to detect anomalous behavior, such as someone walking through a building at night, and report back to a remote security center.
“This takes away the monotonous and sometimes dangerous work, and leaves the strategic work to law enforcement or private security, depending on the application,” said Stacy Stephens, Knightscope cofounder and vice president of sales and marketing.
The K5 uses cameras, sensors, navigation equipment, and electric motors – all packed into its dome-shaped body with a big rechargeable battery and a computer. There are four high-definition cameras (one on each side of the robot), a license-plate recognition camera, four microphones, and a weather sensor (which looks like a DVD-player slot) for measuring barometric pressure, carbon dioxide levels, and temperature. The robots use Wi-Fi or a wireless data network to communicate with each other and with people who can remotely monitor its cameras, microphones, and other sources of data.
If you walk in front of it, it will stop abruptly. Try to detain it, and after some time its built-in alarm will begin to chirp as a warning while sending a low-level alert to a remote monitoring center. Keep bothering it, and an ear-piercing alarm will sound as it sends another alert, prompting an operator to use Knightscope’s browser-based software to check out the status of the sensors, see what’s happening around the robot, and talk to anyone who may be there harassing it.
The company envisions the robots going beyond standard security applications. For example, Stephens suggests an app that would let college students request one to chaperone them across campus at night.
Matt Holden is an Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media, Inc. He received his MFA and BA in journalism from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He currently writes and edits for Occupational Health & Safety magazine, and Security Today.