New York City Police Department is deploying a new robot officer to keep the subway safe
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Featured Image Credit: Barry Williams for NY Daily News/Getty Images. ANDREY DENISYUK/Getty Images
Yes, the future is here, people.
I’m getting flashes of every sci-fi movie that ever existed.
However, this isn’t the first time the bot has been deployed to work in public spaces, as K5s currently serve in hospitals, airports, casinos, warehouses and supermarkets.
But now it’s hitting one of the busiest underground stations, with its four cameras that will record footage without audio to help law enforcement capture everything.
Thankfully, it won’t be using facial recognition anytime soon.
While the robot doesn’t have the capacity to make arrests, K5 can connect people to a live person to make a report should an incident arise.
New York City is leasing the bot for USD $9 (AUD $13.9) per hour.
The robot will be rolled out later this week and will be accompanied by a human officer before the bot can roam freely.
These K5s come as subway ridership in the city has surged following the pandemic.
Mayor Eric Adams, who used to work as a transit cop patrolling subways, says he’s on board with this new technological safety measure.
“Public safety and justice are the prerequisites to more prosperity, particularly in our subway system,” he said.
“When people feel unsafe to use our trains and buses, it impacts our economic stability as well.”
However, others remain sceptical.
Among the critics is Albert Fox Cahn, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project executive director, a privacy and civil rights group.
“If the Mayor thinks there aren’t enough cameras in Times Square, then he’s more out of touch than I realized,” he said.
"This is a mayor who doubles down on public relations stunts rather than public safety any chance he gets.”
One big question is whether the robot will effectively perform tasks a human can complete.
In 2016, a Knightscope K5 security robot made headlines after it knocked down a 16-month-old toddler and rolled away at the Stanford Shopping Center in Silicon Valley.
Mark Radlein, a restaurant manager in Manhattan, fears the bot might even accidentally push someone on the platform.
He added: “Does it have brakes to stop itself?”