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More on the Metro security robot

Looks like this is finally getting rolled out.

Typically, when a security guard weighs 400 pounds, it means they are not well suited for foot patrols. K5, however, was built for it.

Soon the spaceship-shaped sentries will roll into action at transit stops and continue keeping watch on a parking garage at Bush Intercontinental Airport, under tests to see if more mechanized monitoring can help people navigate places and provide a bit more security in spaces that could use an extra set of eyes.

Airport officials deployed two K5s, built by Silicon Valley-based Knightscope, in early December. In the coming weeks, once they are properly branded with logos, Metropolitan Transit Authority said it will roll out K5s at a park and ride lot and a transit center in the area. A stationary K1, also built by Knightscope, will be installed at a rail platform. Metro’s board approved a $270,000 contract with Knightscope about 11 months ago.

Robots likely will hit the beat in a few weeks, transit agency spokeswoman Tracy Jackson said. Officials have not confirmed the locations where the units will be deployed.

The intent at Bush, airport parking director Walt Gray said, is to see if the robots prove helpful addressing minor issues that come up in the garage, such as someone who cannot find their car or a traveler who returns with a trip to find a flat tire. A button on the robot can be pressed to speak directly with someone, with the robot able to pinpoint the exact location.

Gray said the robots are supplemental tools to on-site security, though airport officials could have bigger plans to let K5 loose in the terminals to help travelers with directions.

See here for the background. That contract was approved about a month before COVID shut everything down, so I presume that that is the reason why it took so long to get from contract approval to actual pilot test. I don’t have anything to add to what I said back then, I just look forward to the day when I can find myself on a rail platform and encounter one of these things.

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3 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    I’ve encounter these things. They have been in Methodist Hospital for two years. Maybe more. At first they were friendly and talkative, but soon became recalcitrant and sullen, shying away from contact. Almost as if they were being abused by the human security staff. They also were getting repaired quite often.

    At the end of the day, I don’t see the value in getting these. They are basically a rolling security camera. They also have an emergency call button. They don’t call for help automatically. Of course they are unarmed. They can’t detain a suspect. Most lobbies, parking lots, restaurants, stores, etc. have security cameras. They can be mounted up high to cover a wide area, or have wide angle lenses and other technology to cover a wide area. Most people have cell phones. There are also public emergency call buttons and phones on many campuses, parking lots, etc. So I’m not sure what the advantage is.

  2. Henry W (Hank) Jones III says:

    Their utility for helping travelers unfamiliar with an airport’s layout & navigation paths have been proven in the Seoul airport, incluing in English.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Anyone care to wager on how long it will take before the first robot is stolen? I think we could use the rental bikes (I can’t recall the company name at the moment) in Houston to estimate how long it will take before all the robots turn up missing.

    I’d also consider a side wager on which location the first robot gets purloined from. That’s got to be the Acres Homes transit center.