New Yorkers Wary of Patrolling Security Robots

Although privacy concerns abound, Knightscope has opened a showroom in Manhattan and hopes to alleviate the need for increased security patrols.

NEW YORK CITY — “Hey, I’m walkin’ here!”… Is probably what New Yorkers scream out every time a security robot walks in front of them. Okay, probably not. But it’s fun to imagine.

As Knightscope security robots begin to slowly become more ubiquitous around the city, residents are becoming concerned about their privacy, according to CBS2.

“In the wrong hands, people could like… reboot it or something,” says resident Jose Rodriguez, who has probably watched RoboCop 2 one too many times.

In addition to LaGuardia Airport, Knightscope security robots can be found at Lefrak City Apartments in Queens and in their new showroom, located at 47th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.

Speaking to CBS2,  Knightscope CEO William Santana Li says security robots are necessary in order to keep up with the demand for security patrols.

“The law enforcement apparatus is not going to scale. You can’t keep adding more people, and we’re going to add more people and more officers. It’s not going to happen. Society literally can’t afford this,” Li says.

Costing between $6 and $12 an hour, security robots are well-suited for augmenting security patrols. Back in May, SSI examined how unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) can act as effective force multipliers for security patrols. Here’s an excerpt:

The ability to cover far-reaching and difficult terrain, perform tasks and generate alerts at blazing speeds, plus other autonomous abilities combine for a powerful value proposition.

“UGVs are perfect inside any security program where a task is monotonous and/or dangerous. They have the ability to detect and record many more details and data sets including heat signatures and MAC addresses that a person will never be able to detect,” Benjamin explains, adding that most if not all UGVs have a person behind their operation in some manner.

“UGVs effectively act as force multipliers where they are deployed. They provide a unique security presence in all of the environments where they are placed. While on patrol, they’re able to verify perimeter integrity in dangerous areas on the property, provide avenues for patrons to quickly connect with the security team, and identify dangers that otherwise may go unnoticed.”

Security robots seem to be a practical solution to a real problem. All they need to do is avoid drunk people and water fountains.

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About the Author


Steven A. Karantzoulidis is the Web Editor for Security Sales & Integration. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Communication and has a background in Film, A/V and Social Media.

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