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Real-Life RoboCop Guards Shopping Centers In California (metro.co.uk) 100

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Metro: While machines from the likes of RoboCop and Chappie might just be the reserve of films for now, this new type of robot is already fighting crime. This particular example can be found guarding a shopping center in California but there are other machines in operation all over the state. Equipped with self-navigation, infra-red cameras and microphones that can detect breaking glass, the robots, designed by Knightscope, are intended to support security services. Stacy Dean Stephens, who came up with the idea, told The Guardian the problem that needed solving was one of intelligence. "And the only way to gain accurate intelligence is through eyes and ears," he said. "So, we started looking at different ways to deploy eyes and ears into situations like that." The robot costs about $7 an hour to rent and was inspired by the Sandy Hook school shooting after which it was claimed 12 lives could have been saved if officers arrived a minute earlier.
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Real-Life RoboCop Guards Shopping Centers In California

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  • by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @06:44PM (#52152261)

    can it detect whether somebody is black or white, in order to find out whether to shoot them at sight?

    • I'm pretty sure these things want to shoot everyone on sight. Extermination is equal opportunity.

    • can it detect whether somebody is black or white, in order to find out whether to shoot them at sight?

      I have only seen these robo-cops at the Stanford Shopping Center, where there are no black people. Anyway, they are only armed with a camera. A group of unsupervised kids were randomly pushing the buttons on the front of the robot, which caused it to make beeping and whirring noises, but otherwise had no effect on its behavior.

    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      Given the shape etc of this robot, it pretty much only need to detect if you're the same brand of him, and if not, well "EXTERMINATE!".

    • We have the technology. [slashdot.org] :-p It didn't work very well for its intended purpose originally but it seems you just found a new one!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The robots will get tired of poverty wages in about 6 months! Expect picketing, riots, and #RobotLivesMatter soon!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by godel_56 ( 1287256 )

      The robots will get tired of poverty wages in about 6 months! Expect picketing, riots, and #RobotLivesMatter soon!

      Nah, they'll just replace it with a cheaper imported model on a H-1B visa.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @06:52PM (#52152319)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The robot costs about $7 an hour to rent and was inspired by the Sandy Hook school shooting after which it was claimed 12 lives could have been saved if officers arrived a minute earlier.

    So does this mean that the police weren't notified as soon as the shooter was identified as a threat? That's the only way this claim has any bearing on additional monitoring whatsoever.

    • Or maybe they figure the presence of the robot would have given the shooter something to do for 60 seconds? I really don't know and agree, your question is solid.
  • If you ever see one of these, run. There will likely be a blue police box nearby. You can take refuge inside. Don't worry, it's larger on the inside than on the outside.

  • Makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @07:12PM (#52152433)
    Most of what mall cops do is make people feel watched. It's the kind of work that's ripe for automation.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Most of what mall cops do is make people feel watched. It's the kind of work that's ripe for automation.

      In the US.

      In Australia and the UK we dont really have "mall cops" as we tend not to let crazy people run around with weapons too often. We do have people employed by the shopping centre to assist people like the disabled, the elderly, parents with children when appropriate. Generally policing is done by the police and shopping centres are full of cameras (so that they can be charged and then released by the police and courts).

      The only time I've seen actual mall cops is in the Philippines where you hav

  • Real-life? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Livius ( 318358 ) on Friday May 20, 2016 @07:42PM (#52152583)

    This is a cool technology and it's serving a practical need.

    But as soon as someone says "Real-Life RoboCop" and then backpedals to a kind of surveillance drone, none of the rest of it has any credibility.

    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      They don't want it to be compared to a certain another "robot" in fiction that this thing looks like.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      This is a cool technology and it's serving a practical need.

      But as soon as someone says "Real-Life RoboCop" and then backpedals to a kind of surveillance drone, none of the rest of it has any credibility.

      Further more, it looks nothing like rocbocop, it looks like someone with a hard-on for Apple products made a body kit for a Dalek.

      Its completely non threatening, I can see it having serious problems with stairs, getting into elevators uneven carpets and any undulation really, I can see Chavs (youths that wear their hats backwards) making a game of knocking this thing over so a person has to come and put it upright again. I certainly hope they built it to be able to take a tumble as it will be taking quit

  • Sounds more like the Killbots from Chopping Mall than Robocop.

  • before one of these things are stolen?
    • It shouldn't be too hard. They are just oversized weebles. Knock one over and roll it towards your van.
      • by kuzb ( 724081 )

        ...and then get tracked by the owner and arrested since an expensive guard robot will almost certainly have a tracking and long-range communication system...

  • by PPH ( 736903 )

    "You have 20 seconds to comply."

  • You have to reboot them every couple hours or they get stuck in the cinnabon or start macing children indiscriminately.

  • That looks like a promising way to deter car prowls in parking garages, and alert security if there is one in real time. Maybe similar in buildings with lots of windows, have a few of these robots patrol the corridors listening for the sound of glass breaking or doors opening where they shouldn't be.

    I'm not sure I understand the connection to Sandy Hook, but I suppose inspiration isn't necessarily a deterministic process, so who's to say that's wrong.

  • n/t
  • That's the best you could yo for a comparison?

    Doesn't anyone else thing that this thing looks like what you'd get if you were to mate a Dalek with an iPod?

  • Looks like Eve from Wall-E got jiggy(watt) with a Dalek.

  • Where are the warnings on it you are being recorded? When was the last time you hugged a mall cop? This thing should have warnings on it you are being recorded up close and personal.

    This wonderful bit of technology is one more step towards getting the next generation comfortable to being watched all the time.

    And to tie it to Sandy Hook? Seriously? Just like the TSA, this is an improper response to a security problem in that context.

    Couple this with the other news about the government not needing warrant

  • Perhaps this is another example on how the artificial minimum wage is putting people out of work. If this robot costs $7/hr and the minimum wage is $15/hr then it would make sense for any property owner to have a handful of these robots and a single security guard in a room watching video screens.

    What it also does is further separate people from people. People value human interaction, even if it's just having someone in a uniform smile and nod as they walk past. Companies that put a bunch of robots inste

    • This robot was supposedly inspired by a mass shooting but yet this robot is not armed, it can only alert the armed people to come to the aid of others

      And guess what Adam Lanza's first bullet would have been directed at?

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