This is not RoboCop just yet, so don’t get your hopes too high. And no, that’s not R2D2 either, but a cute little droid (for now) that will help police departments to fight crime.
The name of the robot is Knightscope and it makes for a crime fighting machine which doesn’t use violence (for now), but cruises through crowds and gathers information in the forms of video footage and thermal imaging.
Basically, this cute robot is a spy which can keep an eye on crime 24/7 and, well, on everyone else for that matter, criminal or not, because the Knightscope can read licence plates and communicate with his human superiors in real time. You know what I am talking about, right?
The Knightscope was presented on Thursday via a live demonstration courtesy of University of Texas. The show took place at Arlington Police Department and the media had a field day watching the little monster in action.
For now, the cyber crime warrior is limited to perform non-aggressive jobs, basically collecting data and scanning licence plates, or alerting his fellow humans about rogue citizens breaking the law, e.g. when people enter restricted areas or when they’re jaywalking etc.
The same Knightscope can be used, I presume, for hostage negotiation or as a mall bot, directing people to the closest Starbucks. The robot is always videotaping and storing data, including marker-sniffing which basically identifies nearby wireless devices i.e. your smartphone.
According to Knightscope’s creator Stacy Stephens, these guys have higher expectations for their robot than doing basic surveillance jobs. Obviously:
“Long-term, our ultimate goal is to be able to predict and prevent crime,by analyzing past data with real-time, on-site information collected by the robots. Then maybe we have the ability to put the robots into a patrol state where they are hitting those hotspots.
The police officers can sync with the Knightscope using their smartphones for real time video-feed. However, for now the robots can only be rented, in a rent a cop fashion for something like $7/hour.