Real RoboCop Patrols California Shopping Center Much To Skynet’s Sinister Delight

Paul Blart may be out of a job, as shopping centers in Silicon Valley have started to employ an egg-shaped robot security guard. These robots are the brainchild of Stacy Dean Stephens, a former Dallas police officer who sits on the board of the non-profit International Association of Chiefs of Police. 

robocop close up
Credit: knightscope

The robot security guard was born after the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Stephens learned that if the cops had arrived sixty seconds sooner, they could have saved at least twelve more lives. The police officers who responded to Sandy Hook, however, would have needed more forewarning to have arrived sooner.

Stephens stated, “That was a problem we felt was definitely worth solving...and the only way to gain accurate intelligence is through eyes and ears. So, we started looking at different ways to deploy eyes and ears into situations like that.”

He decided to co-found Knightscope, a company which leases out robot security guards. The robots have high-definition infrared cameras, microphones, detection systems that can intercept the pings of mobile phone devices, and license-plate reading software that can process 300 license plates every minute. They also have a loud alarm and geotagging so that they can call for help.

The software inside the robots has a “whitelist, greylist, and blacklist” of license plates. If a license plate is on the blacklist, the robot automatically triggers an alarm. The information is sent to Knightscope’s cloud software and then streamed back either to the customer’s control center or a human security guard.

robocop app

The robot was designed to look friendly rather than intimidating and the reaction has been overwhelming positive, with many people deciding to take selfies with the robot. The robots have even returned with lipstick marks from being kissed.

Knightscope tested these robots in November on the Microsoft Silicon Valley campus, and it is currently available for hire at a cost of $7 an hour.