Knightscope Security Robot Examined

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Apr 19, 2016

Silicon Valley is bringing us security robots, or as the startup, Knightscope, likes to call it, "Advanced Physical Security Cutting Edge Anomaly Detection Autonomous Presence 24/7"

We spoke with Knightscope at ISC West 2016, and examine their offering inside, including their sales pitch, its sensors, battery life, physical presence, pricing analyzed, competitive comparisons, limitations and potential markets.

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Sales *****

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Physical ********

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Navigation ******

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Deployments ** ****

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Comparison ** *********** *********

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Limitations ** *************

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Knightscope **********

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Comments (26)

Poll:

Your comment "Based on the size and height, it appears that it could be effectively neutralized by covering with a 55-gallon trash can liner."

Literally had me in tears laughing. Thanks for this!

That said, this might be cool on version 3.0

You know they sell hula hoops at Dollar Tree.

Throw one over it, and sit back and wait till it's battery runs down. :)

lets see it doesn't shoot lasers, transform and can be easily trolled.

(not trying to be funny)

looks like its staying on the shelf, the corner, or where ever it rests

when will this fad of invention based start ups end? i see this becoming a money pit like brs labs.

money pit like brs labs

They have only raised ~$7 million so far but are in the process of raising $10 million at a $45 million valuation (see their AngelList page). As such, they are a long way from the BRS labs $100+ million level.

Silicon Valley is about swinging for grand slams. Most swings are strikeouts. Everyone once in awhile there are multi-billion exits.

They do have one advantage. The cost and availability of labor in the Bay area is very high right now, so if they can start by getting local tech companies to buy their products, they could build / expand from there.

Personally, I'm glad there are companies like this exploring new areas and ideas for security. I'm not sure that security robots, or drones, are going to have a wide-scale impact on the market, but it's interesting to watch the development.

I'd like to see more companies doing things that are more substantial than another video doorbell, fingerprint reader, or nanny-cam level product.

The challenge is that security is not one of those high-profile B2C SaaS markets that investors love, so it can be hard to attract investor attention.

Brian, what opportunities are there to apply this to areas / conditions that would be dangerous to humans? To use an extreme case, if there was an area with nuclear radiation, deploying humans would be expensive and risky, so it would be far easier to justify a robot. Are there more conventional but still risky to human scenarios where security robots could be better justified today?

That's a good question.

It seems like there are two primary human-risk categories:

  • Areas that are hazardous and need continuous monitoring, where deploying fixed cameras probably make more sense.
  • Areas, like a nuke site, where temporary coverage is needed, in which case there are already tons of camera-on-remote-control-base options on the market.

There could also be scenarios like inspecting a building or bridge that is under construction or damaged, but it also seems like drones or existing (and lighter!) solutions exist there too.

An application for a security robot like these that I've heard over the years is museum displays and art auction houses. The museum or art house typically changes the floor plan regularly and wants a way to keep an eye on key items automatically. The robot would need to be able to self-navigate/learn the floorplan, and also be able to scan and "memorize" artwork and displays and alert if something was missing or altered. At a high level, it would seem like the Knightscope robots could do something like this.

I think the best approach for security robot might be similar to the above example, and along the lines where robots have traditionally been beneficial: automating a monotonous task where humans tend to lose interest. In this case the automated task is probably more of an observational one than a mechanical one (eg: a robot that performs welds). But even here you're limited to the niche of areas that can't be easily covered by fixed cameras.

It's a Roomba with a camera connected to their remote monitoring center?

[Disclaimer: I am employed by a VMS, Intelligent Security Systems (ISS) and we integrate with GuardBot, but have no other financial interest in the company]

Another interesting product is Guardbot.

It can navigate rough terrain (even through snow, sand and water), has vehicle/person avoidance functionality while on guardtour and can be fitted with a variety of sensors (PTZ camera, thermal, chemical, biological)

Trevor, thanks. I embedded a video inside your comment so people can learn more.

Have you seen it being used in deployment?

I think it is worth an IPVM post but curious how far the bot has gotten.

We were working with Guardbot on a Port Container Recognition project. It basically entailed putting the bot on tour around the facility (while avoiding vehicles) and having it use our software (SecurOS Cargo) to recognise the container numbers and feed GPS location data into a database usable by the terminal management software to have reliable tracking data on containers on site.

Unfortunately, the project never came to fruition, but the people at Guardbot were very responsive, knowledgeable set expectations for the product at what looked like a realistic level.

I would like to continue working with them and I will for sure update the IPVM community on future projects if the end user and integrator allow.

It might be cheaper than a security guard but it can't do citizen's arrest. And a security guard cannot be stolen.

And a security guard cannot be stolen.

But they can be "bought", no?

Andrew, good find. Here is the related Xinhua video:

More info from the Chinese government on the China robot, AnBot.

Interesting tidbit:

Capable of eight hours of continuous work, AnBot is able to patrol autonomously and protect against violence or unrest.

Compared to Knightscope:

The typical patrol is 2.5 hours of activity, with a 20 minute "break" to recharge.

So China's robots are harder working than American ones....

The China robot may include a stun gun:

When people around AnBot face security threats, the robot’s control personnel can remotely deploy AnBot’s electrically charged riot control tool.

"Electrically charged riot control tool" = stun gun?

Another video on the China robot:

I struggle though to understand the practicality of this, especially given the relatively low labor costs in China.

The Knightscope robot is patrolling the Stanford mall. Check out this video filmed by a mall visitor:

Not sure what real security benefit the robot provides but it seems like a great attraction / gimmick.

Oh, and Stanford mall is on Sand Hill Road, so a nice billboard for future investment.

New Knightscope marketing video added:

Bad guys are afraid of the robot, good people use it to call for help.

Looks like Tyco has found a good purpose for a robot in security, handing out candy at IFSEC:

Just found this...

Robot runs over toddler in shopping centre
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36793790

Video.

Summary: Toddler ok, Robot suspended without pay.

first step of self awareness before they try and take over and enslave/destroy mankind

I'm thinking about investing but wondering what the cost to run the robot per hour is before building and deployment. Just maintainance and data transfer per hour must be expensive. I haven't seen that answered anywhere. Anybody have any idea?

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