Microsoft testing new Security Robot

Knightscope, a startup based in Mountain View, California, has been busy designing, building, and testing a security robot, known as the K5, since 2013. Seven have been built so far, and the company plans to deploy four before the end of the year at an as-yet-unnamed technology company in the area. The robots are designed to detect anomalous behavior, such as someone walking through a building at night, and report back to a remote security center.

A quartet of five-foot-tall, 300-pound shiny white robots patrolled in front of Building 1 on Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus. Looking like a crew of slick Daleks imbued with the grace of Fred Astaire, they whirred quietly across the concrete in different directions, stopping and turning in place so as to avoid running into trash cans, walls, and other obstacles.

They are using a bunch of different sensor technology and advanced programming

A combination of laser scanning, wheel encoders, inertial measurements, and GPS allows fully autonomous operation and charging.

Prediction algorithms analyzing real-time on-site machine data, geofenced social feeds and existing data to identify potential risk factors.

Data streams will be made PUBLIC allowing communities to engage and contribute providing an important feedback loop to the prediction algorithm.

Optical Character Recognition – Converts scanned images of alphanumeric text into machine-encoded text for comparison against a defined database or ‘Hot List’

Lidar – Remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light – provides accurate 3D mapping of the environment and specific objects.

In order to do the kind of work a human security guard would normally do, the K5 uses cameras, sensors, navigation equipment, and electric motors—all packed into its dome-shaped body with a big rechargeable battery and a computer. There are four high-definition cameras (one on each side of the robot), a license-plate recognition camera, four microphones, and a weather sensor (which looks like a DVD-player slot) for measuring barometric pressure, carbon dioxide levels, and temperature. The robots use Wi-Fi or a wireless data network to communicate with each other and with people who can remotely monitor its cameras, microphones, and other sources of data.

Knightscope may not outright replace many security guards soon—over a million of them were employed in the U.S. last year, according to an estimate from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the estimated hourly wage these guards earned was more than twice the $6.25 that Knightscope says it will charge for its robots, which could tempt some companies and schools to at least try them out.

The robots have a battery that could last about 24 hours on a single charge, though the K5 is supposed to monitor its battery life and wheel over to a charging pad when needed. It takes 15 or 20 minutes to refuel.

More of a cross between hybrid daleks of Doctor Who and Eve from Pixar’s Wall-e

SOURCES – Technology Review, Knightscope