back to article Behold, says robo-mall-cop maker: Our crime-busting dune buggy packed with spy gear

In a modest industrial building in Mountain View, California, on Tuesday, security startup Knightscope unveiled the latest additions to its line of "crime-fighting robots" – the K1, a stationary weapon detector, and the K7, a sensor-laden dune buggy for challenging terrain. The upstart's earlier models, the K3 and the K5, can …

Anonymous Coward

Bothering the homeless...

...rather than the billionaire tax dodging 1%.

So go after the victims, not the cause.

Way to go K9 robot....

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Re: Bothering the homeless...

So if the robots turn on our financial overlords, vexing them like nobody's business, will you be happy? Or does wealth inequality require harsher measures in your world?

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Re: Bothering the homeless...

Or does wealth inequality require harsher measures in your world?

I could imagine robots programmed to follow them (the 1%) around in droves looking for a handout.

...Damn, there (programmers) go putting another hardworking group out of work, and this time it's beggars

Come to think of it, most celebs are pretty used to being followed around and harassed by tabloids anyway...

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Holmes

Re: Bothering the homeless...

IIRC the vast majority of the cost of crime (in money terms) is from financial/white collar crime (embezzling, insider trading, falsifying accounts etc.) so it would make sense to concentrate crime-fighting resources in the financial sector.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bothering the homeless...

I wonder how well they work after a can of black spray paint is applied to their cameras?

Until they become armed themselves, I am sure a large crowbar or loaded shotgun would also remain a challenge. Fun, fun, fun..... Welcome to Dystopia!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bothering the homeless...

Shotguns, we definitely need more shotguns.

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It's all becoming very "Deus Ex"

First one to hack the security bot or turret with their Multitool whilst wearing a long black coat and augmented glasses wins the internet.

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Re: It's all becoming very "Deus Ex"

Either that or Gene Simmons is going to start populating robots with evil red-tagged chips that make them attack people, thankfully Tom Selleck is still in the law enforcement business (Blue Bloods) so we'll be safe.

If you're wondering what the hell I've been smoking, you've obviously not seen Runaway (1984) imdb.com/title/tt0088024/ (trailer youtube.com/watch?v=zCZY9Z6WvSY)

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Trollface

Re: It's all becoming very "Deus Ex"

Although I think the K7 is rather bigger but less agile than the spiderbots.

But it's probably only a matter of time until they all get equipped with the heat seeking bullets.

Yes, I remember that film too ;-)

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Re: It's all becoming very "Deus Ex"

f you're wondering what the hell I've been smoking, you've obviously not seen Runaway (1984)

I slept through it seen it, and I'm still wondering whether you are on drugs....

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Happy

Re: It's all becoming very "Deus Ex"

If you're wondering what the hell I've been smoking, you've obviously not seen Runaway (1984)

Kirsty Alley when she was still hot (0:48 in the trailer since you ask)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's all becoming very "Deus Ex"

Looks more like a Portal sentry bot to me...

Owowowowow

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I am seeing a lot of potential here...

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/01/bofh_2010_episode_11/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's all becoming very "Deus Ex"

Looks more like an expsnsive Porta-Potty to me.

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Re: It's all becoming very "Deus Ex"

Or alternatively, Chopping Mall : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090837/?ref_=nv_sr_1

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Consequences

Is the mobile K7 autonomous in any way or is it driven and steered by a remote operator? I'm wondering what would happen if a K7 chased down and injured a trespasser by physical contact.

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Trollface

in the wild - definitely the right term!

"Knightscope hopes to have 100 machines in the wild – if you can apply that term to malls, parking lots, and warehouses – by the end of the year."

Having seen the ferals that inhabit my local Shopping mall - "in the wild" is definitely the right term...

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Re: in the wild - definitely the right term!

"Having seen the ferals that inhabit my local Shopping mall - "in the wild" is definitely the right term..."

Oh, leave the teenagers alone. They usually get better with age.

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"And our long-term ambition is to literally be able to make the United States the safest country in the world"

Then you need those weapon detecting robots everywhere, not just airports.

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Then you need those weapon detecting robots everywhere, not just airports.

Presumably to detect anyone who doesn't have a gun and dispense one.

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I'm waiting for the first time someone bundles one of these things into the back of a van (presumably GPS-shielded) and then strips it for parts. Even Robocop didn't escape that fate.

More seriously, I honestly wonder about the liability issues. If that thing falls over / drives over someone, then presumably the robot company pays the bill. "We're only paying for their services, we don't own the robot" is indeed the best thing at that point. Their problem, not ours.

It does make me wonder why you can't just hire a guy for less than $60,000 to do the same job, though.

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It does make me wonder why you can't just hire a guy for less than $60,000 to do the same job, though.

Because you can't hire one guy to do that work.

8h shifts, you need 3 guys to do a day. Add in weekends and holiday cover and you probably need 5 people minimum. I doubt you'd get many braincells in your meat robot for $12,000/year.

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But will catch your meat robot wagging off and lazing around in the pool? Seems Metal Mickey did just that.

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Unhappy

Sounds like a pretty smart business model for California.

Eliminate slightly skilled but essentially minimum wage job. Check

Protect richer people from poorer. Check

Limited functionality to solve a well defined need with high probability of success. Check.

Don't let customers play with them by programming them (IE the IBM mainframe model). Check.

They should go far, if one of the 'bots doesn't go all "Runaway" on someone.

Wheather or not they should go far in an ideal world is another matter.

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Terminator

Re: Sounds like a pretty smart business model for California.

Person not holding weapon.

Bot: "Drop the weapon! You have 5 seconds to comply!"

Person not holding weapon "I don't have a weapon!"

Bot: "BRRRRR...!"

Dead body

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Joke

Finally-

A proper target for all those guns...

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Maybe

If they are so worried about trillion dollar negative impact of crime in the US and want to make US safer then maybe ....

Make criminal justice system and post release process more about rehabilitation, when ex cons struggle to get a legit job, afford accommodation then going back to crime often seems the only option

Decriminalize a few commonly used drugs (kudos at least part way there in some states) to stop people getting criminal record for "crimes" that are almost based on a coin toss e.g. alcohol = OK, weed = crim

Have to add (just to get a few commentards frothing) - do something about the US gun laws, in the UK it is harder to legally get guns and various types of gun very difficult / impossible to get for personal use (plus a whole lot of sensible rules on how they are carried in "public"). Unsurprisingly gun crime deaths are low - yes we get violent crome (e.g. knives) but its a damn sight harder for someone to kill lots of people with a knife, close up than with an automatic at distance

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Re: Maybe

trillion dollar negative impact

It's only negative for one half of the deal, to the party it's a one trillion $ opportunity of equipment and services to supply

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Re: Maybe

Other solution: Legalise theft and robbery for people who declare their income and pay taxes. Just think what this trillion dollar business would do for the budget - with the side effect of reducing the costs policing, the criminal justice system and prisons.

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Re: Maybe

If you legalise it then productivity would drop to national average.

The nice thing about illegal activity is that it's amazingly productive.

The amount we spend on marketing compared to drug dealers is ridiculous

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Re: Maybe

The US already has, see their civil asset forfeiture system

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/23/cops-took-more-stuff-from-people-than-burglars-did-last-year/

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Anonymous Coward

Most of that trillion dollars will be cyber-crime, drugs and political corruption anyway. Unless the robot can backtrace an IP address or manage a sting operation, it will just get more people arrested for vagrancy, B&E, public urination and other petty crimes. Perhaps that is the intention.

I wonder how much piss it takes to short out the K7? That would make a seriously good Youtube video.

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Limited growth company.

Limited in that there are only a few people daft enough to buy into this nonsense. I mean, how many folks with enough money are swayed by the "Oooh! Shiny!" argument?

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Re: Limited growth company.

@ Jake

I suspect you're wrong.

the target market is those paying (what they see as) too much money for several grunts to stand around doing the same thing.

It's a "self service fast food booth", only instead of replacing the people serving you a burger, it's replacing the people selecting victims for pat-downs and screenings etc

In a 24 hour period you're likely to be employing 2-6+ people on a shift rotation to do [$job]. or 1-2 of these things stood working 24/7 for a flat rate, with fewer humans required to do the actual searching and checking etc.

Presumably the screens we see in McDonalds cost more to install than a servers salary, but it's a one time cost. Here, it's rented not owned yes, but it still must be cheaper than employing the relevant number of meatbags to do a similar thing. Remember you don't have to provide holidays/leave, healthcare, HR costs, etc etc etc to a cross between R2D2 and a bin.

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Re: Limited growth company.

I agree with much of what you say ... but renting a toy for $62K/yr that doesn't actually do anything that I can't do with about $4,000 worth of off-the-shelf parts doesn't sound like a serious business plan.

Also note that you still need the appropriate number of meatbags to handle the miscreant meatbags fingered by the system. Might as well put 'em to work between handling miscreants, no?

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Re: Limited growth company.

I see where you're coming from. you can stil reduce the overall number of monkeys employed.

The thing to think about here isn't what this ocmpanty sells now. thye'#re just making sure thye are amongst the first.

Firstly because they'll hoover up funding, and secondly because in ten years time when *everyone* wants shit like this they will be there, with their decade of experience, existing customers, contacts in law, mistakes already made and learned from, years of R&D etc etc and be ahead of the rest.

That or they'll go pop shortly. I don't think they will though. right now they're probably in loss-leader territory and burning through those hedge fund and VC dollars, but they have a product, are building a brand and all the things that go with it.

Basically hoping they are at the front of the queue when either some law enforcement agency, government entity or private company is ready to spend many, many millions on things like this.

Imagine being at the front of the queue when the TSA, NSA, FBI, or load of police departments decide they need this sort of thing nationwide. Yes. Please.

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Pint

Re: Limited growth company.

Personally, I'm not interested in buying into it. And I haven't even touched on it's proprietary nature, which bothers the hell out of me.

We shall see over the long haul. Might as well have a cold one while we wait.

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Re: Limited growth company.

Also consider possible future expansions. They could get a daily upload of facial recognition data for known shoplifters from other locations. The human guards will recognize people they personally threw out before, but not ones from other malls or airports. They could also identify people by cell phone bluetooth beacons, wifi client addresses, car license plates, etc. All of that data would be very attractive to a mall. They could sell it to directed advertizers.

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M7S

Some intense dislike by the company of Tom Robinson, or an aversion to high speed roads?

Looking at the model numbers all I could think of was

2, 4, 6, 8 Motorway

And of course in their sequence K-9 for a "robot" is already taken, not by those police units unable to spell properly either.

http://www.followingthenerd.com/site/wp-content/uploads/Heroes-of-doctor-who-k9-john-leeson-the-time-warriors.jpg

After all, who puts a laser on a sodding shark.....

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Holmes

Re: Some intense dislike by the company of Tom Robinson, or an aversion to high speed roads?

On the contrary, "3, 5, 7, 9 double white line"...

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Re: Some intense dislike by the company of Tom Robinson, or an aversion to high speed roads?

TRB ... Strange how some music resonates across the decades, while most deservedly fades into oblivion. It would do today's kids well to give "Power in the Darkness" a good listen. The title track, and the entire album.

My own K-9s don't need lasers. They have teeth.

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White hats

Are not the optimal people to test to destruction, for, hat you need children from age three up to high school age. If there is a way to break it or hack it one of them will find it.

Kids are not constrained by adult preconception they are far more novel and creative in their destructive processes.

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Anonymous Coward

"I'd buy that for a dollar!"

Time to watch Robocop again.

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Re: "I'd buy that for a dollar!"

Just saw it at BFI iMax on Sunday. Quality.

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Re: "I'd buy that for a dollar!"

These days, it more and more resembles a documentary.

"Think you can outsmart a bullet" - never gets tired.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "I'd buy that for a dollar!"

Yes, absolutely:

http://www.vulture.com/2017/02/foxs-apb-is-the-latest-show-to-misunderstand-robocop.html

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TRT
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Hang on... automated AI vehicles?

Knightscope Industries?

The K177 autonomous vehicle?

What's next? The Knightscope Industries Two Thousand? The Knightscope Automated Roving Robot?

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Re: Hang on... automated AI vehicles?

What's next? The Knightscope Industries Two Thousand? The Knightscope Automated Roving Robot?

I saw where you are going....

Hell, why not. 'Smart' cars are in.

...Actually sod the 'Smart', just give me a 'Cylon eye' for the front of my car.

...We'd only end up with Cortana or Siri trying to do an americans concept of an English accent, failing to be droll (and probably ending up screaming racist abuse - thanks Microsoft).

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Pint

Re: Hang on... automated AI vehicles?

Beat me to it!

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TRT
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Re: Hang on... automated AI vehicles?

We already have the 'net connected smartphone wristwatch.

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