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AI police robot tipped to become future of policing in America

Rhiannon Ingle

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AI police robot tipped to become future of policing in America

Featured Image Credit: Knightscope

An AI police robot has been tipped to totally change the future of policing in America.

The new piece of kit is being rolled out to help prevent crime and has already successfully aided in the arrests of a hit-and-run suspect as well as the capture of a sex predator.

The gizmo in question, which resembles a modern-day Dalek, is believed to completely revolutionize the way the United States is policed but some members of the public aren't so sure about the real-life RoboCop.

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An AI police robot has been tipped to totally change the future of policing in America. Credit: Knightscope
An AI police robot has been tipped to totally change the future of policing in America. Credit: Knightscope

The crime-fighting robot, standing at just five feet tall, uses artificial intelligence to help overstretched police officers fight crime on the streets of America.

With an ultra-cool title of K5, it seems as if we're currently living out the plot of a hit sci-fi movie given the swish new addition to the police force.

William Santana Li, chairman and CEO of K5’s maker, US firm Knightscope, told The Sun: "A lot of people are worried about AI. They say the robots are coming and they’re going to take everyone’s jobs.

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"You know what I worry about? I worry about humans. Crime has a $2 trillion negative impact on the US every year. A violent crime takes place every 26 seconds, a property crime every four seconds. Robots and AI have nothing to do with that."

The K5 robots work out a whole lot cheaper than the cost of human cops and security guards.

Given the fact they're not human, the bots are also able to put in longer shifts than its human counterparts.

They have already be rolled out in the public, assisting law enforcement by patrolling car parks, shopping malls, parks and casinos across the nation.

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K5s cost up to $65,000 to build and can be leased for just 75 cents an hour. Credit: Knightscope
K5s cost up to $65,000 to build and can be leased for just 75 cents an hour. Credit: Knightscope

K5s cost up to $65,000 to build and, while that's a pretty hefty upfront cost, they can be leased for as little as around 75 cents per hour.

Sporting some pretty impressive skills, the bots use AI to navigate the streets like self-driving cars.

Equipped with a high-tech sensory kit, K5s can also process facial-recognition checks as well as accurately read 300 number plates a minute and even detect the notifications of mobile phones.

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Complete with high-def infrared cameras as well as microphones that can hear alarming sounds like broken glass - it's clear that these new pieces of kit are unlike anything the world has ever seen before.

Oh yeah - they can even send their own voice messages.

Li explained: "An officer can speak through the machine as if it’s a mobile PA system, so it can make announcements like, 'You’re trespassing!'"

The Knightscope CEO has also assured the public that the company will not be arming the robots, calling the decision 'a bright red line for us'.

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Knightscope will not be arming the AI-powered robots. Credit: Knightscope
Knightscope will not be arming the AI-powered robots. Credit: Knightscope

However, while there's somewhat of a hype around the introduction of these groundbreaking robots - some people aren't so sure about their presence on the streets of America.

Dr Catherine Connolly, from US-based pressure group Stop Killer Robots, has called the news a 'slippery slope'.

Connolly declared that the robots will 'make humans more and more distant from the use of force and the consequences of use of force'.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is the latest police unit to enlist the assistance of K5 robots.

Albert Fox Cahn, from the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, claimed: "The NYPD is turning bad science fiction into terrible policing.

"New York deserves real safety, not a knock-off RoboCop."

Li has since addressed the slightly comical, movie-like appearance of the K5 robot - explaining that the sci-fi aesthetic was deliberately used to put the public at ease.

"New York deserves real safety, not a knock-off RoboCop." Credit: Knightscope
"New York deserves real safety, not a knock-off RoboCop." Credit: Knightscope

"We could have gone two ways, friendly or ominous. But you don’t want to scare everyone and make them not like the tech. You want it to be comforting," he said.

The CEO continued: "Like a police officer, you want to walk a fine line between having a commanding presence and not scaring a grandma."

Hitting back against K5 critics, Li argued: "In the US there are about 1.5 million law enforcement professionals and a million security guards. You need four humans to do 24/7 shifts.

"If machines can work 24/7 and be the eyes, ears and voice for the guards then you have a chance to make a massive difference in crimefighting."

Addressing the concerns that humans could wind up losing their jobs to the machinery, Li assured: "There’s not enough officers and guards to actually do the job and there’s massive turnover.

"You need machines to do the monotonous, computational heavy work that no human can do and let the humans do the decision-making and enforcement."

Topics: Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Police, US News, Crime

Rhiannon Ingle
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