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There's a new sheriff in town, but there's a catch: it's a robot.
K5 is a security robot that works for less than minimum wage, doesn't take breaks, and won't sue for discrimination if you misassign its gender. With laser reflexes and hi-tech cameras for surveillance, the thing can take pictures faster than a teenager with an iPhone at the mall.
So if you need a modern crime-fighter to patrol your parking lot or other business, K5 is ready for work.
The creation of Knightscope, a robotics startup in the Silicon Valley, K5 has already caught at least one bad guy. Last month, a man was prowling around the company parking lot and decided to take on the metal sheriff.
It was not a fair fight because K5 only monitors and reports. Unlike those military robots, K5 is not weaponized. It's actually kind of cute, in an R2D2 way.
The man knocked down the defenseless droid, but it immediately sounded an alarm and reported the incident. Police soon arrived and arrested the man for prowling and public intoxication.
K5 survived with a few scratches, went back to work and didn't even care about the television crews that came to report on the hero. That's a bad robot.
Knightscope reports that K5 is serving 19 clients across five states. For most, K5 patrols parking lots and office buildings.
One client says the robot helped police identify and arrest a vandalism suspect. Another says K5 reports people who abuse reserved parking privileges. It's about a security presence, says Bill Santana Li, the company's chief executive officer.
"If I put a marked law enforcement vehicle in front of your home or your office, criminal behavior changes," he told Business Insider.
In business, it's also about money and maybe a little charisma. Watch out, Paul Blart, K5 might take your job.