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Times Square Subway Station Will Use New York Police Department Security Robot

The New York Police Department is introducing a novel security measure at the Times Square subway station with the deployment of a security robot aimed at “enhancing safety.” It's called a K5, a creation of California-based company Knightscope, resembling, as described by privacy advocate Albert Fox Cahn, a "trash can on wheels."

Weighing in at 420 pounds, the K5 is equipped with four cameras capable of recording video, though no audio capture capability. It lacks arms and a humanoid form, differentiating it from Mayor Eric Adams' visions of a more humanoid machine. During its two-month trial period, K5 will patrol the station from midnight to 6 AM. Initially, it will focus on mapping the station and restrict its roaming to main areas, excluding the platforms.

The extent of the robot's camera footage sharing remains uncertain, with Mayor Adams asserting that it will record video for emergency or crime review, without facial recognition. Privacy concerns linger, as Cahn worries that facial recognition could be incorporated into the system in the future.

K5 cannot respond to emergencies or physically apprehend suspects. Its real-time assistance is limited to connecting people to live personnel for reporting incidents or inquiries via a button on the robot.

New York City is leasing K5 for approximately $9 per hour over the next two months. Despite recent calls to reduce spending by 15%, Mayor Adams believes the investment is justified. This move follows his support for machine-based police tools, including the acquisition of two Digidog robots earlier this year for $750,000 each, intended for hostage and critical situations. This marks a notable shift from the NYPD's 2021 decision to cancel the lease of Boston Dynamics' Spot due to public backlash.

Do you think Mayor Adams would be better off putting money toward other resources to help citizens? Let us know in the comments.

Link: Engadget


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