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A huge robot will patrol the New York subway: where can you find it?


Alina Prikhodko

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A new robot has appeared in New York that will help police officers patrol the subway. This robot will patrol the station from midnight to 6 am for two months, accompanied by a police officer, according to USA Today.

The K5 is a fully autonomous robot designed for outdoor safety. Its functions include monitoring and detecting suspicious activity, as well as providing important information to the police. The goal of the pilot implementation of robots in the city's security system is to improve control and security at one of the busiest metro stations in the world.

Robot Knightscope 5, or K5, which the Mountain View, California-based robot tech company describes as a “fully autonomous outdoor safety robot,” will begin patrolling the Times Square subway station from midnight to 6 a.m. ET during a two-month test, accompanied police officer, Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference Friday.

The robot is 157 cm tall and weighs about 180 kg, weatherproof and capable of shooting 360-degree video. It is equipped with four HD cameras with wide-angle lenses, as well as an infrared thermal imaging camera. “It will record video that can be used in the event of an emergency or crime,” Adams added.

The K5 will not chase or catch criminals as its top speed is 4,8 km/h. In addition, the robot needs breaks, since on a fully charged battery it can patrol for 2,5-3 hours and then needs 20-30 minutes to recharge, Knightscope reports.

On the subject: NYPD takes on three types of robots: what they can do

The robot will not record audio or use facial recognition, but it does have a button for citizens to report incidents, Adams said. Albert Fox Kahn, project executive director Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a privacy and civil rights group, called the robot, which began patrolling Friday night, a “trash can on wheels.”

While K5 may have made significant progress, in 2016 one of the robots hit a child at a Silicon Valley mall: the 16-month-old child was not injured in what Knightscope called a “freak accident.”

During the two-month trial, the K5 will be accompanied by a police officer to help educate the public about the robot's functions, Adams said. But if the tests are successful, the K5 will patrol on its own.
“We will evaluate the effectiveness of the robot and decide whether we will use it in the future,” Adams said.

What types of robots are used in New York?

This is not the first time New York City Mayor Eric Adams has added robots and technology to the city's police and emergency response teams since taking office in January 2022.
In April, a former NYPD captain brought back robotic dogs called Digidogs for use in life-threatening situations. Two years ago, the New York Police Department stopped using robots, while the city's fire department continued to use them.

“Digidog has come out of the fold,” Adams said at the time, unveiling a preliminary version of the K5 robot. “Digidog is now part of the toolkit.”

The NYPD has entered into a temporary subscription with StarChase to use its GPS tracking devices to tag and track vehicles. Recently, remote-controlled robots for collecting garbage and recyclables were tested in New York.

How much will a new patrol robot cost New York?

The city rents the K5 for about $9 an hour, Adams said. The mayor is seeking to cut the budget of many city agencies. “The K5 rate is “below the minimum wage,” Mr. Adams said during the event. – No toilet breaks. No food breaks.”

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