The (crime preventing) robots are coming

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Like me, are you having Sherlock withdrawal symptoms?

Well, there is a new detective in town although he doesn’t have a curly mop, trench coat and deerstalker cap. Instead he’s a bit shorter, doesn’t say too much and glides rather than strides. In fact he (or even she for that matter) is a robot.

Yes, an autonomous crime prevention robot created by Silcone Valley start-up Knightscope.

This R2-D2 meets RoboCop robot is packed with technology that will enable it to predict and prevent crime in places such as schools, shopping centres, hotels, car dealerships, casinos and airports.

Sound a touch unbelievable? Well, it’s not. Seems like the robots are coming and the detective variety are harder working (and less moody) than any Sherlock.


The Knightscope K5 Autonomous Data Machine, as it’s called, roams round an area constantly gathering real-time data with numerous sensors. This data is processed through a predictive analytics engine, which is combined with existing business, government and crowdsourced social data sets, and assigns an alert level when anything is untoward. A human can then review all the data and see what has taken place.

“Our approach alleviates any privacy concerns, engages the community on a social level to effectively crowdsource security, and provides an important feedback loop to the prediction engine,” says a spokesperson for Knightscope.

Knightscope’s mission is to cut crime by 50 per cent in the US. Considering a crime takes place every 3.5 seconds over there, that’s a lot of robots.

K5 is currently in trials with beta customers with possible launch next year.

All this rather reminds me of that famous Sherlock quote “…when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Truth is, I think you’re out of a job Sherlock.


A video of how the Knightscope works (try and ignore the dramatic ‘we’ve come to save the world’ music)

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