We are terrible, as a society, of predicting the future. As far back as the '80s we knew robot cops were coming, but we thought they'd look like this:
However, here's the police robot the NYPD is actually (and literally) rolling out next month:
Who would've guessed it would have the form factor of McDonaldland character Grimace, without the legs?
Created by robot manufacturer Knightscope, the K5 is a wheeled robot just over five feet in height, and weighing in at around 400 pounds. Destined for subway platforms, it's billed as a "force-multiplying physical deterrent," though it's not clear that it does anything except record HD video. The bulk of its technology is to help it move around (max speed 3 mph) without bumping into anything, as it's got sonar, LiDAR, GPS and an Inertial Measurement Unit.
Beyond that, it can both transmit audio and listen, though the NYPD says it won't be used to record audio. There is also a "help" button on it that you can press for assistance; but rather than the button press transforming the thing into a justice-wielding Autobot, it simply relays the help request back to a dispatcher.
Anyways here's the press conference:
Enter a caption (optional)
I'm not crazy about Mayor Adams pointing out that leasing the 'bot costs less than minimum wage.
The press conference did answer my question about what would happen when people push the thing over, or off the tracks; NYPD Transit Chief Kemper says they'll be arrested. Being arrested, however, never seemed to be a strong deterrent to NYC's criminals, and I think it's just a matter of time before K5 winds up on its back, or worse.
Join over 240,000 designers who stay up-to-date with the Core77 newsletter.
Test it out; it only takes a single click to unsubscribe