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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Intoxicated Man Allegedly Knocked Over K5 Patrol Droid

Knightscope’s K5 security robots are made to observe and report rather than taking any action on their own, but Mountain View police say that didn’t stop 41 year old Jason Sylvain from drunkenly knocking the mostly harmless bot to the ground in a parking lot. K5 bots may not be made for combat, but they do weigh around 300 pounds, making Sylvain’s alleged feat a fairly difficult one. Police say that the bot was simply patrolling in the parking lot of its home, Knightscope’s headquarters, when Sylvain came along and somehow managed to push the droid over. The K5 unit suffered some minor scratching, but is reportedly back on duty and doing just fine. Sylvain isn’t doing quite as well; he’s facing down charges of prowling and public intoxication.

Knightscope’s K5 bots are made to record immense amounts of data, around 90TB in a year, and can raise alarms and instantly report crimes in progress, including assaults on the bots themselves. This means that the K5 unit’s time on the pavement was decidedly brief, with the huge amount of visual and audio evidence it collected allowing police to identify and arrest Sylvain not long after the crime was committed. Police have yet to release details of exactly how or why Sylvain  grounded the 300 pound droid, and Sylvain himself has not spoken up about the incident.

The K5 in this case was durable and vigilant, ideal qualities for a bot that’s made for patrolling. The line as a whole has come a long way since a unit ran over a toddler’s foot last year, and Knightscope has found many clients want the bots’ services. At $7 per hour, clients like Microsoft and the Sacramento Kings NBA team are getting a better deal on the highly advanced bot than they would a human security guard, at the cost of the bot being unable to take much on the scene action itself, aside from sounding an alarm. A live, physical presence does have its advantages over the average IoT security setup when it comes to discouraging crime, of course. While this situation showcases the vulnerabilities inherent in Knightscope’s pacifist approach to security, the technology of the K5 shines bright, showing potential clients all over the world just how well the bot can observe, report, and most importantly, record.

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