Victoria Bell | The Daily Mail | Source URL
California police have deployed a RoboCop style machine onto the streets to fight crime by monitoring and surveiling streets and parks.
Dubbed the 'HP Robocop', it was unveiled this week by the Huntington Park police department to 'keep a watchful eye on the public'.
Described as an 'autonomous data machine', it is equipped with 360-degree video cameras, which will then be able to relay video footage to human police.
It will beam this data to police headquarters in order to facilitate fast and safe responses from police officers.
They were created by Silicon Valley company Knightscope and are being used in select cities around the US at venues including malls, hospitals, stadiums and warehouses, according to the company's website.
The rentable robot cops are also being deployed around New York City, and a security robot has been deployed in a shopping mall, also in downtown Los Angeles.
The device is intended to 'act as an extra set of eyes' and other areas police don't have time to consistently monitor, according to the release.
It will also be able to roll down sidewalks and recite phrases to members of the public, such as 'excuse me' and 'good day to you.'
The force hopes the RoboCop, which has already been patrolling for several weeks, will serve as a deterrent to crime and disruptive activity.
A video released by the city shows the RoboCop rolling down a park sidewalk while making noise before saying, 'Good day to you.'
'I'm very excited that we can officially call on HP RoboCop to help our police officers patrol our city,' Mayor Karina Macias said in the statement.
'This is a big accomplishment for our city and introducing HP RoboCop shows innovation and the incorporation of new technology.'
'HP RoboCop's capabilities are extremely impressive.' said City Manager Ricardo Reyes.
'In particular its ability to use its microphone to deter criminal activity and its mobility to patrol large open spaces.'
Although authorities say that are raising both eyebrows and questions about privacy issues.
The robocop-style guard, in Los Angeles for example, are also capable of picking up video footage and sending information back to security headquarters, so they can respond quickly.
It is equipped with a 360-degree cameras, WiFi, sensing units and can stream live video, read license plates and detect people, the objective being to differentiate between a harmless passerby and a possible criminal.
'In the wrong hands, people could like… reboot it or something,' said Far Rockaway resident Jose Rodriguez.
But Knightscope insist that the information is secured and is only seen by the security agency controlling the robot.
WHAT ARE THE KNIGHTSCOPE ROBOTS?
The Knightscope robots are said to be rentable for between $6 to $12 an hour.
The benefit of the robots, said company CEO Li, is that they can help scale up law enforcement personnel.
'You can’t keep adding more people, and we’re going to add more people and more officers. It’s not going to happen. Society literally can’t afford this,' he said.
So far, Knightscope said that the robots have helped security personnel catch an accused sexual predator, a robbery suspect and a vandal.
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE ROBOTS WERE TESTED AT LA GUARDIA AIRPORT IN NEW YORK?
In September, when the New York Post reported that the robots were being used at LaGuardia, traditional airport security staff scoffed at their new robot counterparts because they were creepy and ineffective.
The robots, which had been in use for three months at that point, were meant to help warn off illegal cabdrivers and scammers.
Actual security personnel said that the very cabdrivers the robots were supposed to get rid of, just walked around the robots with their new fares.
Meanwhile, a female security guard said that the things kept bothering flyers and that she's even had to ward off a robot with a luggage cart after it had crept up on her.