This Crime-fighting robot can detect weapons in a crowd

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Silicon Valley-based Knightscope Inc makes security robots that patrol areas like shopping malls in order to assist human security teams. The company’s aim, according to CEO William Santana Li, is to give these teams “really smart eyes and ears to let them be able to do their jobs.”

To achieve this Knightscope added two more robots to its existing lineup that currently includes the K3 and outdoor K5. The company hopes that the K5 will help security and law enforcement personnel detect trouble while preventing and minimizing public injuries and fatalities. Another goal of Knightscope, Inc. is to cut down crime rates. William Li said, “Our aim is to cut the crime rate by 50% in a geo-fenced area, which would increase housing values and safety while lowering insurance costs.”

The K1 is a stationary robot that can scan passers-by for weapons. Using millimeter wave technology, additionally, it can sense the size and shape of objects. The robot works similarly to the body scanning machines the TSA use except you don’t need to walk into an enclosure. According to the company, it’s suited for use at entry and exit points in airports or hospitals.

The K7 can navigate rugged terrain thanks to its wheels that let it slide sideways. There’s also the 770-pound K7 that can traverse rugged terrain such as dirt and gravel on its four wheels. K7s top speed is currently 3 mph and it’s built for outdoor areas like wind farms or airfields.

The new robots by Knightscope have a similar suite of sensors just like the previous ones, such as cameras, sonar and LIDAR. The robots process much of the data on board before sending it to a web interface which can be accessed by the human security team by using Wi-Fi, a cell connection or a combination of both.

If you have an open air facility and three-o-clock in the morning, you have someone wandering around … let the guard then know and have the machine do the monotonous, computationally heavy stuff. This is not intended to replace humans – William Santana Li

One of the technologies that Knightscope is working on for future updates is what Li calls “audio event detection” which he likens to the opposite of voice detection. Instead of picking up individual voices, the robot will learn to differentiate sounds in the background, such as a footstep or glass breaking. That data could be used to localize the sound so a human security guard team can work out exactly where it came from.

At a rate of $7 per hour, Knightscope provides the robots and the monitoring interface to companies. Every 2.5 hours the robots generally take a ‘coffee break’ to recharge on docking stations. During this time the bots can’t roam around autonomously, but they are still fully operational.

Knightscope is also working on what Li calls “audio event detection” which he likens to the opposite of voice detection. This will enable the robot to differentiate sounds in the background, such as a footstep or glass breaking rather than just picking up individual voices. That data could be used to localize the sound so a human security guard team can work out exactly where it came from. Also the company is also working on an AI concierge, which will enable users to talk to the robot and get responses while it’s out and about.


Knightscope Inc. develops advanced physical security solutions. It offers K3 and K5 autonomous data machines that are force multipliers, data gatherers, and smart eyes and ears on the ground helping clients to protect their customers, their property, and their employees 24/7 in indoors and outdoors. The company was incorporated in 2013 and is based in Mountain View, California.



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