Knightscope with Identical, Multi-sensor Equipped Night Watches

Knightscope introduced K5, a 300 pound, 5 feet tall, and 360 degree angle patrol robot in 2013. The team was inspired by Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and Boston Marathon to keep our society safer with a variety of sensor detections and real time data analysis. K5 is now in beta and deployed to shopping malls, corporate campuses, residential areas, and parking lots, mostly in San Francisco bay area.

K5 costs $7 per hour to patrol in clients’ desired area. Compare to the $25 to $35 human security guard, the machine-as-a-service model is claimed to save their clients from 25% up to 75% in cost and no need to deal with worker’s complaint. From the cost and efficiency prospective, Knightscope is going to disrupt the security world of 5 billion market. Knightscope explained that K5 is not to replace human but to assist law enforcement officers to act timely.

Connected to the internet, K5 is doing real time analysis with the huge data from both database and environment input from sensors. For example, scanning license plate and doing facial recognition. K5 can see the subtle changes from the day-to-day pattern and smell the problems from there. I am more conservative about the prediction part for now. However, it would be interesting to see the crime data such as license plate and face photo being identified and distributed in real time without going back to check the surveillance cameras one by one. In this case, it will have much higher chance to stop the crime from escaping and getting away from justice, and probably save lives with the real time alerts. Moreover, Knightscope wants to live stream the scene and asks for crowdsourcing if security alerts and permission granted.

The future application of Knightscope is the connected smart city. Knightscope provides a wide range of customization in sensors to best fit into client’s need and the patrol environment. The goal is to provide Knightscope service in any condition.It might not be necessary in the form of patrol bot and target crime. It can target fire detection, large object falling, or any type of danger. The more territory it expands, the more real time monitoring data it will obtain. As a city is strongly connected, we will see less crime, less accidents and more efficient resource allocation.

Knightscope cannot picture the future without addressing the privacy concern. Knightscope claims that K5 only serves in public area and it is “public.” The data is secured as communication is encrypted and uses secure sockets layer. However, the privacy is more than secured data. Owning any personal data, especially, hundreds of thousands of data, Knightscope or any interested third party can equip with unimaginable power to impact people’s life.

The world is changing so fast that people may not be ready for the changes and regulation may not be in place to respond to the changes. However, Knightscope is up to speed to build this disruptive and interesting future.

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