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COVID-19 Robotic PSA: Being Thoughtful During Difficult Times

Let’s get right to the point – we are all affected by COVID-19, either directly or indirectly.  But crises call for calm, confident and thoughtful leadership.  We must face such emergencies with transparency and flexibility and without the drama and hype often encountered through today’s many means of communication.  These are times when we are most vulnerable, and it is important for us to maintain vision for others when their own line of sight is obscured.

When reflecting on the current pandemic, we set out to assess the impact on those around us – our teammates, our clients, our suppliers and our investors – so that we might be able to positively influence fundamental outcomes.  We were genuinely concerned whether people and organizations would be able to withstand the shock or stress upon them and whether or not they were able to recover, or even benefit, from the disruption.  We immediately identified a set of common desired outcomes and began communicating a path forward.

Admittedly, our first concern was the health and safety of our teammates.  We identified the developing trend surrounding the spread of COVID-19 and took action ahead of the government directive by minimizing the number of employees at Knightscope Headquarters (KHQ) and authorizing the majority of the team to work from home.

However, given that public safety, physical security and wellness are classified as essential services, we needed a way to continue to operate and support our law enforcement, security and healthcare clients so that they could focus on their own set of priorities without having to worry about another system or function going down.  We therefore instituted a Work-from-KHQ (WFKHQ) policy in order to support ongoing operations whereby employees must obtain written approval (with logs) to work from the office with staggered work hours and no more than 2 people allowed in any part of the buildings at any given time.

We then focused our attention on our clients.  We re-planned and re-prioritized service, maintenance, upgrades, and re-deployments.  Although not optimal, we are working as hard as possible to ensure ‘uptime’ of service and maintain some level of normalcy for our clients across the country.

Next, we developed Public Service Announcements to communicate in both virtual and physical domains.  This entailed creating encouraging and uplifting reminders that were posted on all of our social media accounts.  Themes included practicing social distancing, proper hygiene and common-sense consideration of others.

In support of the social media outreach, we are now working offline to add numerous similarly themed, pre-recorded broadcast audio messages for our Autonomous Security Robots (ASRs) to announce when a person is detected and/or on an hourly basis, depending on client needs.  Some are delivered in fun and playful tones, and some more serious.  But the underlying message of them all is that we care.

And now we are actively investigating the reinstatement of a detection strategy previously under development which may be useful in identifying persons at risk of carrying COVID-19.  An initial assessment seems promising, so we are continuing the investigation, but we are seeking additional funding and resources to develop it.  It would be awesome for our security robots to proactively help during this pandemic.

The urgency of the situation continues, as does our resolve.  We will continue to work to identify additional common goals and develop solutions to adapt accordingly.  We will move early; we will move fast; and we will move decisively.  And we are calling upon the community for help and support.  We are all affected, and we’re all in this together.



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