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Mobile Security Robots Detect Size and Shape of Weapons at a Distance

Knightscope, a Silicon Valley-based technology company (founded in 2013 after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut), had recently expanded its range of security robots with two brand new models intended for use in airports, hospitals and open-air facilities.

The first of these, K1, is a stationary robot which relies on millimetre wave technology to scan passers-by without requiring them to walk into a special enclosure – a feature which gives it an edge over the body-scanning machines used by TSA personnel.

The second model, K7, is a hulking 350-kilo vehicle (similar to a buggy, at least on the outside) capable of navigating rugged terrain, such as gravel, dirt and sand, with a top speed of almost 5 km/h.

Robot cops – no longer science fiction. Image courtesy of digitaltrends.com.

Like the other robots, the new models are equipped with infrared cameras, sonar and LIDAR sensors. To make life easier for security personnel, the robots process much of the information on board and then transfer it via cell connection, Wi-Fi (or a combination of both) to a web interface.

The robots can identify smartphones down to the MAC and IP addresses and blacklist individual devices, faces, or even cars. Once an intruder is detected, the robot alerts the security staff.

An individual ADM (“fully autonomous security data machine”) can upload more than 90 terabytes of data every year and, if necessary, store it for up to 15.

According to Stacy Stephens, a former police officer and one of the co-founders of Knightscope, ADMs were designed to fill in security blind spots or, in other words, areas where human guards refuse to patrol, such as crime-ridden public parking lots, dangerous bridges and homeless encampments.

“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”, said CEO of Knightscope William Santana Li. “This is not intended to replace humans”.

The privilege of becoming an early adopter will set you back $7 for every hour of using the full package, which includes both the robots and the monitoring interface.

Every 2.5 hours the ‘bots have to take a “coffee break” and shuffle back to their docking stations to recharge, all the while remaining fully operational, minus the ability to roam autonomously.

The company is currently working on robots with advanced audio-detection capabilities and more sophisticated AI.

Sources: cnet.com, digitaltrends.com.

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