Dalek-Lookalike Law Enforcer to Fight Crime on US Streets by 2015

Letting robots take care of important aspects of our life is a thing regarded with skepticism by many, especially when said robots look a lot like the Daleks, Doctor Who’s archenemies.

Maybe that’s precisely what California-based Knightscope, the manufacturer of the K5 law enforcer, stakes on. One of the most interesting aspects about K5 is that it won’t only fight crime, but it will also ensure public safety by predicting crime, something that might bring Minority Report’s pre-cogs to mind.

In an interview with CNET, William Santana Li, a former Ford Motor executive and currently CEO of Knightscope stated that “It can see, hear, feel, and smell and it will roam around autonomously 24/7.”

Knightscope’s CEO also explained the mechanisms used by the K5 autonomous data machine: “It takes in data from a 3D real-time map that it creates and combines that with differential GPS and some proximity sensors and does a probabilistic analysis to figure out exactly where it should be going on its own.”

There is a lot of room for improvements, as Li pointed out that “Predicting crime is being deployed today, but it’s unfortunately using a lot of historical data. What doesn’t exist in that algorithm is real-time on-site data. So if you actually had data that was fresh, that was actually from the location you’re trying to analyze, it would make that algorithm much more robust.”

Li also explained that the time difference between when a crime is predicted and when it is commited may be essential: “That extra 30 seconds or that extra 17 minutes … that time could actually save someone’s life. What security 3.0 looks like: it’s a human, it’s robotics, and it’s actual intelligence.”

Schools, unfortunately, represent a place where many conflicts arise, either between students or between students and their teachers. Many a times there are even armed conflicts that could be predicted with the help of K5 units. Knightscope plans to put a K5 in every school, thus reducing the crime rate by 50 percent or more: “Our plan is to be able to cut crime by 50 percent in an area. When we do that, every mayor across this planet is going to be giving us a call.”

This initiative is really courageous, and I’m sure many of us would like to see K5 units more than just in the US, as public safety is a global problem.

If you liked this post, please check the 157,460 plastic-brick Dalek exhibited at Toy Fair 2012 and the Daleks used by NASA.