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Virtual Reality and Security Robots?!;

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For the last 5+ years, the team at Knightscope has been hard at work developing a unique set of technologies combining self-driving technology, robotics and artificial intelligence – to help make a massive positive social impact. Our long-term, slightly ambitious, goal is to make the United States of America the safest country in the world, changing everything for everyone. Fortunately, the benefits of all the hard work is starting to pay off – you can read about our crime-fighting wins here.

But what about the (crazy) process of developing these ground breaking technologies? Both our Chief Executive Officer, William Santana Li, and our Chief Design Officer, Aaron Lehnhardt, spent a good amount of time in Detroit at Ford Motor Company so they come at things from a slightly different perspective.

Solid proportions can make or break a design – and frankly doesn’t matter the amount of surface treatment and surface entertainment one might put on something – without a solid foundation it becomes increasingly difficult to produce a great design. In the automotive industry, sometimes there isn’t a lot of variation on proportions due to regulatory requirements, physics, engineering requirements, etc. – so, for example, unlikely you’ll end up with a reverse angle on a windshield.

So when interpreting a hand sketch or digital rendering of a car or truck – with some experience – you can kinda guess what it might end up looking like in real life. But when it comes to our security robots (well, we call them Autonomous Data Machines or ADMs), there are no such existing constraints and there are all-new ones to contend with in the design process. So how to visualize it if something might actually work in the real world with no framework or benchmark or frame of reference?

The answer at Knightscope is Virtual Reality (VR)! So the team went off and built a “virtual design studio” where we can test proportions, digital mock ups and models, color treatments, etc. in VR before going into the prototype stage. VR certainly has helped us avoid some (monster) mistakes and has also been very useful in validating some of our assumptions.

It is a beautiful thing when technology can help build more technology. And even better when that technology can help society!

 

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Knightscope Security Robots Rack Up More Crime Fighting Wins;

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Knightscope has documented and verified recent reports of the following benefits achieved utilizing its security robot technologies at numerous locations:

  • Armed Robbery – security robot provided the best evidence of armed robbery and theft of vehicle. Data provided to law enforcement in time to arrest suspect.

  • Be On The Lookout – assisted a law enforcement agency with an investigation by providing high definition quality video and license plate detections for 30 instances over a period of 4 months of the BOLO (Be On The Lookout)

  • Burglaries – elicited confession to a law enforcement agency for two burglaries and felony property damage using evidence solely collected from a Knightscope robot

  • Feeling of Safety – improved sense of security voiced to Administration and Security Director by nurses and doctors while walking to their cars after dark

  • Fire – identified heat anomaly in a hair styling kiosk; officers dispatched, removed kiosk covering and found equipment left turned on; thermal camera on security robot helped to avoid a major fire

  • Fraud – assisted a real estate owner in stopping a fraudulent insurance claim

  • Hit and Run – helped in identification and verification of car involved in hit and run in parking lot; security robot data was directly responsible for catching the suspect

  • Perimeter Expansion – assisted a casino operator with extending their signal detection perimeter capabilities to outside of facility and adding eye level high definition video at critical ingress / egress location

  • Sexual Predator – helped law enforcement issue an arrest warrant for a sexual predator

  • Stolen Bikes – significantly reduced bike theft, with numerous bikes stolen prior to the Knightscope deployment, and only one incident since

  • Thief – helped a security guard catch a thief in a retail establishment

  • Trespassing – client has prevented trespassers and substance abusers from loitering and sleeping on their premises. As a result of deploying the Knightscope security robot, they haven’t had a trespasser in 6 months.

  • Vandalism – assisted a corporation in tracking down a vandal

  • Vehicle Break-Ins – client was experiencing 1 – 2 vehicle break-ins or thefts per week; has gone down to ZERO in the last 10+ months since Knightscope machine was deployed

In addition to the numerous successes above, clients are also reaping the benefits of the added physical deterrence and cost savings supplied by the large security robots. One such case study was published by XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO) and may be found here for review.

Knightscope continues to deliver on its mission to give its security professional clients unprecedented new capabilities, allowing them to provide safer places to work, shop and visit.

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Why You Should Add Robots to Your Physical Security Program;

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For as long as assets needed protecting, we have always utilized some form of overwatch through guard patrols, access control and CCTV surveillance. Through the addition of the Community Oriented Policing model, we began to see the emergence of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) in order to develop the site’s terrain in a manner that would make it increasingly more difficult for potential criminal actors to target the site. We are now at a point where security programs are facing increased responsibilities with decreased budgets. Security practitioners are looking for a solution to ensure their properties are protected. Robots are the solution.

For centuries security guards have been the go-to resource for protecting a site. The personal interaction, response and duties of human guarding are a draw to businesses. There is a sense of peace knowing that someone has your best interests at heart and are willing to protect your people and property.

However, the human guarding industry is plagued by high turnover and low wages. This has resulted in compromises to the security program through theft and the inability to fill posts, if not worse. In 2017 a security guard stole $100,000 dollars in cash from his employer. On January 24th of 2019 a school security guard in Florida was arrested and charged with the sexual battery of a student under the age of twelve years old. The suspect in this case had passed both a background check and psychological evaluation.

Surveillance cameras are a very important part of deterring crime at a variety of locations. The advancements in security cameras have given us the ability to add advanced analytics, high definition pictures and the ability to zoom in on an item of interest to gain valuable details. But this technology is not without fault. Improper installation can cause the camera to be installed too high on the building therefore reducing visibility. Guard tours of PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) cameras cause the camera to be facing away from a potential incident, and physically “broadcast” to would-be criminals that the camera will come around after a determined amount of time.

So how do robots fit into the security spectrum? Utilizing robots to enhance physical security reduces or eliminates a lot of the pain points that security teams experience, as well as mitigate the issues explained earlier. There are no personnel issues, licensing or HR requirements with robots. While security machines don’t replace the critical reasoning and response functions of security professionals, fusing advanced technology and superhuman sensor data and analytics with human analysis and response delivers capabilities beyond traditional physical security programs.

Allied Universal®, for example, now utilizes best-in-class robot solutions to lower risk, increase productivity and enhance safety through innovative solutions that expand security coverage without additional investment in manpower, training and supervision.  The capabilities of robots incorporate technologies such as video, audio, communications and more. Furthermore, installing these technologies independently would be a tremendous strain on a budget as well as a network.

Security practitioners using robots in their footprint have reported back that they have experienced increased employee compliance, reductions in crime and forensic investigative capabilities that they did not have before. Employees have acknowledged that they feel safer knowing the robot is patrolling and greeting them. A robotic solution is no different from the solutions mentioned above, but more of an improvement on what we are already doing in a moving platform. Robots are a cost-effective solution, on the job 24/7/365 while adding innovation and attention to your business.

 

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Securing America’s Healthcare Centers;

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The healthcare industry faces significant challenges in ensuring the safety and security of their patients, employees, visitors, vendors and facilities; regulatory compliance; preparing and responding to natural disasters; and other major business activities.

The effects of a violent crime occurring every 24 seconds and a property crime occurring every 4 seconds in the US [1] threaten these sanctions of safety and compassionate care. The most disturbing safety issue faced in healthcare is workplace violence, with the main assaults being either patient-on-staff or visitor-on-staff. Preparing to successfully address these challenges requires a new approach to security. The industry, with its current non-uniform approach to the utilization of technology and revolving door concept of security officer staffing, is struggling to provide the solutions healthcare leaders need to ensure their organizations do not become overwhelmed with assault, theft, vandalism or violent crimes.

Knightscope is answering the call for leaders who are looking beyond the traditional model of physical security to one that pairs human critical thinking with the abilities of robots to flawlessly perform monotonous and computationally heavy work. The Department of Justice reports that visible surveillance can deter crime by up to 40%. Knightscope security robots multiply this percentage significantly through their 360-degree HD video streaming, eye level video surveillance, 24/7 autonomous operation without human intervention, and a commanding physical presence with a powerful strobe light and patrol sound.

Several leading healthcare facilities have already experienced the benefits of partnering with Knightscope to face these challenges. Clients have witnessed a massive reduction in on-site security incidents in areas where Knightscope robots are deployed. One physician commented, “When I’m walking to my car, and it’s 4am in the morning and really dark. I’ll be walking really carefully, holding tightly my phone and keys. Then I hear the Robot’s sound that is makes as it’s patrolling the garage, and a wave of relief washes over me, that I’m not alone, and it makes me feel better.”

One healthcare center is even making history as the first to have Knightscope robots deployed inside the halls of the hospital. Their two robots named Holmes and Watson are providing security officers a detailed look at the areas they patrol with 360-degree camera capabilities and thermal imaging. Holmes and Watson are providing their uniformed security officers with cutting edge communication tools with the robots’ two-way audio system. Their emergency call button is giving employees and visitors another way to request assistance fast during an emergency.

Healthcare leaders need to look no further than Knightscope to address their many security challenges. Request a private free demo here and we look forward to working with you to better secure your healthcare facility and reduce costs.

[1] 2017 FBI crime statistics

 

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Can a #SecurityRobot See Through a Wall?;

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There are many, many movies where Superman can see through a wall and identify a bad person without having to see him/her (he has super-powers after all!). This is the main reason why people today think that a thermal camera on a security robot will give them the same capabilities. Here, we will discuss what a thermal camera on a security robot will actually do for you.

A thermal imaging camera is a type of thermographic camera used in firefighting, law enforcement and military operations. A Knightscope Autonomous Data Machine (ADM) senses its surroundings with temperature as a measurement in long wave infrared spectrum (LWIR) beyond the normal red-green-blue (RGB) visible light spectrum as human eyes see. Additionally, pixel wise measurement of temperature – thermography – is useful to determine patches of temperature in the frame that could be flagged as white-hot thermal events.

While these are expensive pieces of equipment, their popularity and adoption has been increasing. By rendering infrared radiation as visible light, these cameras allow one to see heat radiating through smoke and darkness. This gives the machine a unique capability to see if there is a car running in parking lot overnight or a human loitering in total darkness or in cases where people are trapped somewhere, and rescuers cannot find them.

At Knightscope, we use thermal camera technology to detect the temperature of different regions during our autonomous patrols. Our customers have full control of what “hot” means to them as the cameras are customizable and will detect high temperatures indoors as well as outdoors. For some customers, anything above 100 degrees is too hot while others only care about anything that shows more than 400 degrees – it varies by location and use case as well as time of day or night.

Knightscope robots have already had several wins from these thermal cameras. One example is at a retail client of ours. At the mall, one of the tenants of the small kiosks had left a curling iron plugged in for the night. The human security guard was not able to determine that the temperature was too hot but our K5 machine detected that and sent an alert to a human, so they took action. The robot effectively avoided a fire that would have cost a great deal of fire damage and financial harm.

A hot pipe can be of great concern to a commercial property manager

A hot pipe can be of great concern to a commercial property manager

Another example was a hot pipe that was about to burst at a commercial property where our machine sent an alert about it and avoided a costly repair for a client.

Additionally, a nurse at hospital complained that a man in his vehicle was saying harassing things to her at night in the parking lot where our machine patrols. She provided them with the vehicle make and model. They pulled up some of the thermal detections and found a white-hot thermal image of vehicle that was either running or recently running in the area where the nurse said this individual was. They got a vehicle match, captured the plate number, and the security team went right to that location and began questioning the suspect. He denied being in his vehicle at the time, but the security team was able to provide him proof that he was in his vehicle at the alleged time of the harassment due to the time stamp on the thermal detection. They were then able to pull further additional eye-level video to support the claim.

Long-term we want our Knightscope security robots to ‘see, feel, hear, and smell’ but in the meantime, “thermal crime-fighting powers…..activate!”

 

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How Does a #SecurityRobot See?;

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One of the jobs that a #securityrobot needs to be able to do (and do very well) is “seeing” what happens around it. The robot needs to understand what is happening so it can let humans know when something out of the ordinary is taking place. Vision is one of the most important features on Knightscope Autonomous Data Machines (ADMs) and it also is one of the top innovations in the security space in recent years. Knightscope has led its implementation on fully autonomous security robots which now patrol outdoors and indoors nationwide.

How does a security robot see?

The answer is quite simple but not at all an easy problem to solve: Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is defined as: the ability of a system to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. With AI, we try to simulate how the human brain works: nodes (neurons) and synapses that connect those neurons to each other. The system has layer upon layer of nodes (i.e., “Machine Learning”) and since we utilize a large number of layers, the algorithm is classified as “Deep Learning”.

There are many examples of Machine Learning available today, for example: IoT sensor monitoring, GPS enabled navigation, operational intelligence, listening systems, etc. For this blog, we will focus on visual perception.

So this is how it works: let’s say that we want to determine if there is person at a commercial property at night when no one is supposed to be there between 10pm – 5am.. The algorithm needs to first be able to tell what a person looks like. It learns things by being shown examples of what needs to be learned (both positive and negative). We then pre-label people images and these are fed to the system to recognize (or more appropriately ‘classify’) objects in our video and/or images.

As you might have already imagined, we need lots of examples to feed these algorithms – under our own specific conditions. Here at Knightscope we have labeled well over 1 million images to get our algorithms to perform as well as they do today and detecting all of the different type of objects that we need to detect. That is a lot of images! At one point we even built an in-house mobile app to help speed up the process.

We train the algorithm over and over until it gets to the accuracy that is acceptable for implementation at a client’s site. Sounds simple right? But some of the issues that come up during this type of work (especially since the camera is moving) are: blurred frames, dark shadows, distance concerns, weather conditions, time of day, etc. All of that needs to be eliminated or accounted for so that the user will only see crisp images of the person detected. Once we are live, the detection of a person in an image is performed at real-time speed.

Then the person who was roaming around an unauthorized area after hours, is caught!

“It is 2:10am and you are trespassing. The authorities have been notified.” Humans working with machines….imagine that!

 

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Secure Our Country;

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Fully Autonomous Knightscope Security Robots

 

So Who Gets Fired?

Crime has a $1 trillion negative economic impact on the U.S. every single year.  It is a hidden tax we all pay in blood, tears and treasure.  A violent crime occurs every 24.6 seconds and a property crime every 4.1 seconds.  Our country has 2+ million law enforcement and security professionals trying to secure 320+ million people across 50 states.  The math just doesn’t work.

So when some new horrific tragedy happens in our country – who gets fired?  Who is accountable?  Every time something awful happens – here come our political leaders with “…we extend our thoughts & prayers…” – that is not going to fix the problem.

On a Mission

Knightscope’s long-term, slightly ambitious mission is to make the United States of America the safest country in the world, changing everything for everyone.   We don’t believe the Founders of our country ever expected us to build a society where going to work, going to school, going to a movie theater, or going shopping literally came with a risk of being shot or killed.

Over the last 5 years, Knightscope has developed a game-changing fully autonomous security platform combining self-driving technology, robotics and artificial intelligence – to help our nation’s brave women and men in uniform better secure our country.

Autonomous Leadership

Over $80 billion has been invested in self-driving autonomous technology and there are over 50 companies working on it – yet, Knightscope is the only company operating fully autonomously 24/7/365 across an entire nation.  Our clients are malls, corporate campuses, logistics companies, hospitals, stadiums, airports – basically anywhere outdoors or indoors where you might see a private security guard.

Knightscope’s disruptive technology is offered on a Machine-as-a-Service (MaaS) business model at an effective price of $6 to $12 per hour.  We sign annual contracts running 24/7 which includes the software, hardware, setup, 24/7 support plus unlimited software, firmware and at times hardware upgrades.

Today we not only provide a consistent physical deterrence but 360 degree live-streaming eye-level video, we can read 1,200 license plates a minute, can detect a person in an area they shouldn’t be, run a thermal scan, check for signals in the environment – the guards can even speak through a #securityrobot as if it were a mobile public address system.

Momentum

Five years later we are now nationwide, have operated more than ½ million hours with our clients, have garnered over a dozen crime fighting wins, we’ve raised $40+ million from 6,000 family offices, private investors and 4 major corporations – and we are just getting started.

Are you tired of the horrific tragedies on your news feed?  Do you want to help secure our country?  Do you believe that self-driving technology, robotics and AI will change the world?

 

 
KNIGHTSCOPE LEADERSHIP PHOTO (left to right): Mercedes Soria, Stacy Dean Stephens, William Santana Li, Aaron Lehnhardt, Marina Hardof

KNIGHTSCOPE LEADERSHIP PHOTO (left to right): Mercedes Soria, Stacy Dean Stephens, William Santana Li, Aaron Lehnhardt, Marina Hardof

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Voices of Our Clients;

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ABOVE: 6th Generation Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC) user interface

Back in 2015 when we did our first deployment in the real world (yes, in public) we knew we had a groundbreaking idea but did not yet know how much we still had to learn. We think by now we have forgotten more than most folks know about operating fully autonomous security robots across the country, 24/7, in the rain, at night, in the snow, in the fog, with people, kids, cars and trucks at sunrise and sunset – outdoors and indoors.  It was a very, very painful 2015 – everything that could go wrong, went wrong and we likely invented new things to go wrong!

A fully autonomous robot is not easy to build – and much less easy to deploy. There are many systems that have to work together – software, hardware, firmware, electrical, data transfer, data storage, monitoring systems – but we got it all working in 2016 (kinda!) and started focusing on scaling deployments in California only.  We geo-constrained the deployments, so we could more easily debug, test and iterate and only in 2017 did we start deployments across the country.

As we always say, every new client deployment is a new opportunity to learn. Knightscope operates in malls, across corporate campuses, manufacturing plants, logistics facilities, hospitals, stadiums, airports, gas stations, casinos, residential and commercial property.  The amount of field experience we have gained across different environments is certainly a distinct advantage.

And we learned, learned, and learned and with a combination of our team of professionals from law enforcement, the military and private security executives combined with the team of software, robotics, electrical, mechanical and production engineers – began to plot out a way forward to address these numerous ‘opportunities’.

A product must evolve, especially a technologically intensive one so we pay very close attention to two things, emerging technologies and our client feedback. We have now operated 500,000+ hours in the field with clients and traveled over 250,000 miles running 24/7 across 4 time zones and 15 states – from deserts to through humidity and fog as well as ice and snow. And yes, we have procedures, for hurricanes and floods, since we had to go through those too.

Here are a just a handful of things we have learned based on 5+ years of real-world experience:

Open Areas – our machines are effectively self-driving cars with a very similar technology stack.  However, a robot may view the 2nd level of parking structure at a mall very differently during the day when there are cars everywhere and ‘a bit’ differently at night when the mall is vacant.  Same goes for that 250 acre auto auction that is vast and somewhat dynamic in nature.

It Is Not Flat! – what your eye sees as flat and what your best engineer sees as flat is likely not flat to a robot; being able to learn how to handle much more difficult terrain including speed bumps has certainly been interesting

Observe and Report Only? – yes, human guards, either contractually or legally are supposed to only observe and report (not intercede), guards often do much more; this drove the development of our Custom Concierge feature utilizing artificial intelligence and natural language processing to be able to communicate with visitors and patrons with hyper local information

Robot Behavior – our machines are kid magnets and imagine operating at 3pm on a Saturday at the mall trying to get through traffic; we had to re-think our entire path planning and navigation strategy

User Interface – we now are on our 6th generation version of our Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC) after significant input from our users. The key here is that our clients knew the we really, really cared about their feedback.  After numerous renditions we came up with a design pleasant to look at, that drastically increases productivity and provides analytics that allow customers to made decisions in a fraction of the time it did before. The KSOC effectively helps process the 90+ terabytes of data that a single machines pumps out and puts it into a usable format that a human can utilize.

There is much, much more to come and we are just getting started.  We typically push out software updates every couple of weeks and hardware updates every year.  Fortunately, our clients enjoy unlimited software, firmware and at times hardware upgrades with our award-winning Machine-as-a-Service (MaaS) subscription service.

Request a demo at www.knightscope.com and be sure to follow us on social media to keep up to date on all new features coming out in the future! Join Us and Be a Force for Good.

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What is Your Robot’s Name?;

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The Knightscope K5 (outdoor) and K3 (indoor) fully autonomous security robots awaiting to be named

Humans are special and they make our security robots feel special too! What’s funny besides some of the very cool names pulled together by our ever creative clients but that ‘everyone is worried about the robots since, of course, they are all coming for our jobs and much more (insert eye roll here). The machines are here, yes, but here to help and they have started to do their part in helping humans better secure the places you visit and work….nationwide!

We thought you might enjoying reading just 20 of the names our clients have placed on our fully autonomous security robots across the country….and this is just the beginning!

  1. C-3XPO

  2. Salt

  3. Little Daddy

  4. Rosie

  5. Sunny

  6. Deputy Metro

  7. El-iot

  8. Harr-iot

  9. Sanford

  10. KnightMan

  11. VizBot

  12. Robo Doc

  13. Officer Alex Murphy

  14. Tiffany

  15. Rudy

  16. Buddy

  17. B3PO

  18. Darth

  19. CB1 and CB2

  20. Officer Brooks

Our technology will continue to progress and we will continue to add more and more capabilities as part of our Machine-as-a-Service (MaaS) technology offering. But what will make our journey that much more intriguing is how humans have started to engage – sometimes involving high caloric intake! Request your demo at www.knightscope.com and start getting your robot naming contest ready to go!

KI XPO Cake.jpg

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What Do You Mean It Talks?!;

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Knightscope K1 stationary security robot with Concierge (beta)

Yes, Knightscope’s Autonomous Data Machines can now converse with your patrons, employees, vendors or anyone visiting your location!  Today we are excited to announce a new feature in beta testing, we call Concierge, available to select new clients.

Concierge allows a two-way human-machine conversation to occur with our security robots.  The use of artificial intelligence can help easily extract the user’s intention and generate a natural response. Concierge’s knowledge database is extremely customizable so you can tailor it perfectly for your site.

EXAMPLE USE CASE (VACANT RECEPTION DESK)

Your Knightscope K1 stationary security robot can facilitate the visitor registration process and simultaneously record eye-level video of the visitor along with numerous other security-related detections. This information can prove to be incredibly valuable when securing your facility and assets. Concierge applications can range from access control, answering questions about your company, helping users locate buildings, providing information about corporate policies, and much more.

Here’s an example of how one client intends to utilize the technology while saving money, providing a unique brand-enhancing experience to visitors and giving the security team a force multiplier effect so that they can together cover a lot more ground.

Knightscope K1: Welcome to Acme Hammer Company!  If you are a visitor, please press the button to begin your registration process.

Visitor: presses button

Knightscope K1: Thank you. I am the AHC007 security robot and I will be helping you with your visitor registration process.  If at any time during our conversation you need to speak with a human security officer, press the button again. Do you have an appointment?

Visitor:  Yes

Knightscope K1: Excellent.  Please complete the registration process via the screen on the desk. When the system asks for your security clearance ticket number, press the intercom button again and a human security officer or I will provide that for you.  Happy hammering!

Knightscope K3 indoor fully autonomous security robot with Concierge (beta)

Knightscope K3 indoor fully autonomous security robot with Concierge (beta)

EXAMPLE USE CASE (MALL)

Mall visitor presses button on patrolling Knightscope K3 indoor autonomous data machine.  ADM stops and….

Knightscope K3: To call security press again. To ask questions wait for the green lights.

Visitor: What are you?

Knightscope K3: I am an Autonomous Data Machine, or ADM for short. I patrol the premises, recognize security anomalies, and assist guests.

Visitor: Where is Macy’s?

Knightscope K3: Macy’s is located in the East End of the shopping center.

Visitor: Where is the East End?

Knightscope K3: If you face Stevens Creek Boulevard, the east side of the mall is on your left. The west side of the mall is on your right.

Visitor: What should I have for lunch?

Knightscope K3: What are you hungry for? Name a category. For Example. Healthy. Coffee. Vegetarian.

Visitor: Healthy. 

Knightscope K3: I recommend Nordstrom E-Bar. Pizza My Heart. Sarku Japan. Or Subway.  

Visitor: Thank you!

Knightscope K3: Thank you for shopping with us!

If Knightscope (www.knightscope.com) can be helpful to you in better securing your premises in a positive brand-enhancing manner, give us a chance to provide you a private virtual demo.  You can simply sign-up here and a client development executive will get back to you in short order.

We presently hold contracts in 16 states across 4 time zones running 24/7 at malls, corporate campuses, manufacturing facilities, financial services units, stadiums, airports, hospitals, casinos, commercial property, residential and many more – and we look forward to working with you!

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