back to article Did mock cop bot trot on fraught tot? Maybe not

The maker of the security guard robot that allegedly ran down a toddler in a Silicon Valley shopping mall last week has claimed its droid is innocent. Sixteen-month-old Harwin Cheng hit the headlines worldwide after his parents claimed he was knocked down and run over by a 300lb Knightscope K5 bot at the Stanford Shopping …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Terminator

    That bot looks suitably menacing

    A bit like Max from Disney's "The Black Hole" but without the hovering magic and the scissorhands.

    But is really cheaper than hiring a proper security guard who can at least pack some heat?

    And why doesn't it have "cop bodycams" which would should the nasty kid running rings around it?

    1. Mephistro Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: That bot looks suitably menacing

      '...why doesn't it have "cop bodycams"...?'

      Because the robot keeps disabling them and claiming they're malfunctioning!

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: That bot looks suitably menacing

      In most places, the mall cops can't pack "heat". Only pepper spray, a flashlight, and a cellphone to call the real cops. They're like TSA.... eyewash for the masses to make people feel safe. The have no power to arrest or detain as they are not LEO's.

      Around here, they're basically minimum wage types in a uniform. Most are retired and just supplementing their pensions and/or Social Security.

      1. pdh

        Re: That bot looks suitably menacing

        I think they actually *can* pack heat in most places, but only if they're properly certified. Here in Pennsylvania, for example, you have to have "Act 235" training and certification to be an armed security guard. A mall could choose to hire Act 235 guards, but they'd have to pay those guards substantially more than minimum wage.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: That bot looks suitably menacing

          You might be right. A couple states I lived in, they couldn't.

          There is the cost and liability thing and since malls are in deep trouble financially, cheap is the norm.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: That bot looks suitably menacing

        > In most places, the mall cops can't pack "heat".

        And in places that do, mall cops are the perpetrators of a statistically significant amount of murder and other serious crime.

        Even in places that don't, mall security is more dangerous to most people(*) than what they're supposed to be protecting them from.

        (*) Mall _staff_ in particular.

        As for "kid ran into robot" - that wouldn't surprise me. I've seen kids run into the sides of parked cars and stationary pedestrians. Upvote for the comment about 360-cam and I wouldn't be surprised if there is one, which is where the "reviewing data" came from.

        1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: That bot looks suitably menacing

          How do you propose said robot functions at it's job description without, say, some cameras?

          Did you see the picture of it? (Hint, it has cameras?)

    3. G2
      Coat

      Re: That bot looks suitably menacing

      let's call the robots by their proper name: Daleks, beta version 0.9... they just need an extermination gunstick attached.

      1. MrDamage

        they just need an extermination gunstick attached.

        Don't forget the plunger.

        Makes one wonder exactly how the tiny creature within the battle-suit managed to produce faeces of sufficient size and at sufficient frequency that a plunger was warranted as a permanent fixture.

    4. RAMChYLD
      Terminator

      Re: That bot looks suitably menacing

      Don't know about you guys, but that robot looks like what Apple would churn out if they were tasked to design a Dalek...

  2. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Careless Parents

    Who lets a 16 month old toddler run around a mall without reins with all those adult legs around? They obviously weren't pay too much attention to the child.

    Lucky the kid wasn't in the car park.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: Careless Parents

      Careless or think they might be able to collect some cash by blaming the robot.

      Why not both?

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Careless Parents

        I think the later, trying to shake the manufacturer for some easy money but probably do not realize the evidence is likely to be against them.

  3. Dr_N Silver badge

    Seen them in action

    Utterly pointless.

    Basically just roving webcams.

    Wouldn't last 5 mins in you average UK "shopping centre"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seen them in action

      You mean they would get tagged by youth, then old ladies would beat them to death with handbags and carry them away in caddies?

      1. Big John Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Seen them in action

        The answer to the "durability" problem is staring us in the face: Mall Robocop.

        "I have to go. Somewhere in this mall there is a crime happening."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure

    a well placed Mcdonalds thick shake would bring it to its "knees" and the first time I see one of these following me round Meadowhall, I'll up-end the fucking thing.

    1. Dr_N Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: I'm sure

      "and the first time I see one of these following me round Meadowhall, I'll up-end the fucking thing"

      When I read that I transposed the last few words and had you pegged as a deviant.

      Sorry.

    2. pdh

      Re: I'm sure

      Indeed... and it's convenient to know that they apparently don't have cameras, at least not yet. I wonder why that is? As someone else said, you'd think they'd have body-cams, for a variety of reasons (including liability in cases like this).

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: I'm sure

        Wait, why are you saying it does not have a camera? How is this security device suppose to "security" if it does not have an on board camera?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm sure

          It's the wonder of "Stevie Wonder Security"

      2. Vic

        Re: I'm sure

        it's convenient to know that they apparently don't have cameras

        They do have cameras.

        The web site isn't exactly forthcoming with detail (although I haven't bothered with the videos), but there is certainly one camera, and it looks like there are four.

        Vic.

  5. Efros

    Looks like a job for...

    Elijah Bailey!

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Looks like a job for...

      More for Susan Calvin, I guess, did the robot break the Three Laws, or the family is just after some easy money?

  6. Chris G Silver badge

    Gecko45 Mall Ninja

    This bot is threatening the livliehoods of people like Gecko45, read his story here:

    https://secure.thementalmilitia.com/forums/index.php?topic=18654.0

    A good weekend read.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Gecko45 Mall Ninja

      Sorry wrong link

      try http://lonelymachines.org/mall-ninjas/

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        Re: Gecko45 Mall Ninja

        Chris, thanks for the link! Mall Ninjas, indeed. You couldn't make this stuff up.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gecko45 Mall Ninja

          ‘If Plan A is to take multiple .338 shots to the back, you really need to come up with a Plan B.”

          I didn't know US malls had become "Escape from Mall Hell, Part III: Nihilist Gangsta Ni**ers with C4 vs. Mossberg-wielding Nazi Zombie Goons".

          And I always though SWAT team militarization had gone too far...

  7. Mike Shepherd
    Meh

    "The machine veered..."

    "The machine veered to the left to avoid the child, but the child ran backwards directly into...".

    So, a stationary machine "veered" when it saw something approaching? We don't usually speak of "veering" when stationary. Or maybe the machine veered while moving? I'm not clear I'd know what to do if a moving automaton decided to change direction when I was moving with an intention to avoid it, so should we expect a child to know how to negotiate that?

    As for running backwards, I don't recall that I was ever able to do that, yet it's invoked as an explanation here.

    I assume that the company had an opportunity to lay out a clear explanation, but it seems to have failed.

    1. Adrian Midgley 1

      Re: "The machine veered..."

      "I'm not clear I'd know what to do if a moving automaton decided to change direction when I was moving with an intention to avoid it,"

      Just relax, the collision avoidance wetware is fitted to all mammal chassis.

      The version in primates is quite good.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "The machine veered..."

      You don't recall running backwards (staggering about) because you don't recall anything you did at 16 months.

  8. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Unless they add a vacuum cleaner and a device to wipe, wax and polish the floor I'm afraid I can't really see any practical use of these thingies.

    Exept maybe hacking them to make them shout "Exterminate! Exterminate!" at random intervalls.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's like in "Dune"

    We are now at the level where iX technology will be in the year gadzillion!

    "Those things were toys compared to me. You yourself Baron could outperform them"

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: It's like in "Dune"

      I think my ginger cat could out perform this machine; but that shouldn't rule out plans for a Butlerian Jihad if it evolves too far.

      Is it me or does this robot look like a lady's personal appliance?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: It's like in "Dune"

        Attack of the 50ft Woman?

  10. EveryTime Silver badge

    Toddlers are frequently knocked over by running into stationary objects.

    Some parents blame anyone and anything around when their precious baby falls. Usually by the second child they understand that toddlers fall over all the time on their own, and will often reach out in a way that makes it look like a collision.

    In Palo Alto the median home price is $2.5M, and there are a wide range of cultures and economic levels. It's not surprising that the most minor accident could exploited as a big payday.

    Presumably this robot did have a camera, but not the all-around, all-azimuth coverage that would be required to refute this type of claim.

  11. Chris Tierney

    Crush! Kill! Destroy!

    Err...I mean Stop!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stairs

    That is all.

  13. WereWoof

    How long before a "Chopping Mall" style incident? - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chopping_Mall

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Giant walking dildo collides with tot

    The religious right will be out in force.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Giant walking dildo collides with tot

      That would be a Dilbot then.

  15. Furstenburger

    Best headline ever!

    That is all

  16. SlyWombat

    Odd, from the company brochure.. "Need to investigate what happened in the past and the exact conditions surrounding a particular event? Need a replay of the scene? Want to view multiple seemingly unrelated events on a comprehensive timeline? Knightscope has you covered – inside and out"

    This should have been quick to close this issue. Or the developers are not looking for midget attacks!

  17. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

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