K5 Security Robot on Shopping Mall Patrol Runs Over Child

The parents of a young boy who was run over by Knightscope’s 300-pound K5 robot want to get the word out to help prevent other kids from getting injured.

PALO ALTO, Calif. – The K5 robot from Silicon Valley’s Knightscope is no stranger to the media spotlight. Take, for example, Uber’s recent deployment of the 5-foot tall, 300-pound security automaton. Or Universal Protection Service’s interest in expanding its portfolio with autonomous robot services. 

Now K5 has come under scrutiny by the parents of a young boy who got knocked down and run over by the robot on July 7 at a shopping center located here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The parents claim, according to KGO-TV, the machine is dangerous and fear another child will get hurt.

“The robot hit my son’s head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward,” Harwin’s mom Tiffany Teng told a KGO-TV reporter.

The parents said K5 ran over their son’s right foot, causing it to swell. He did not incur any broken bones. Images (see video below) show the boy with a scrape on his leg from the incident. Harwin’s parents told KGO-TV a security guard said another child was hurt from the same robot only days prior.

Knightscope provided an incident report to SSI, stating its robot was patrolling the shopping center on July 7 when, at around 2:40 p.m., “a child left the vicinity of his guardians and began running towards the machine. The machine veered to the left to avoid the child, but the child ran backwards directly into the front quarter of the machine, at which point the machine stopped and the child fell on the ground.”

The incident report continues: “The machine’s sensors registered no vibration alert and the machine motors did not fault as they would when encountering an obstacle. Once the guardians retrieved the child and the path was clear, the machine resumed patrolling. The entire incident lasted a few seconds and a scrape on the child’s leg and a bruise with minor swelling were reported.”

Each K5 is equipped with nearly 30 sensors, including a multitude of laser ranging devices, sonar sensors and a robust software stack, which allow machines to sense the surrounding environment from less than an inch away to more than 300 feet, according to the company. Knightscope said its K5 autonomous data machines have driven more than 25,000 miles and have been in operation for more than 35,000 hours, typically traveling at approximately 1 mph without any reported incidents.

“There have been thousands of encounters with adults, children and both large and small pets documented daily on social media that have also taken place without any reported incidents,” Knightscope stated.

About the Author

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Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for latimes.com. Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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