The New York Police Department has unveiled a 420-pound police robot as the newest addition to New York City’s police force.
According to NBC4 New York, the new Knightscope K5 Security Robot will patrol the Times Square Subway Station between 6 a.m. and 12 a.m. each day. The robot will feature a 360 HD camera that police can use to review crimes that occur on the subway.
“We’re committed to exploring innovative tools to continue to make this city the safest big city in America, and this robot K5, it has the potential to serve as an important tool in our toolbox,” Mayor Eric Adams said during Friday’s press conference.
According to NBC4, New York City officials explained that the K5 robot is part of a two-month pilot program that will test the effectiveness of the advanced technology. Officials also noted that police officers will be trained to use the new robot and will accompany the robot as it moves throughout the station.
“It will record video that can be viewed in case of an emergency or a crime. It will not record audio, and it will not use facial recognition,” Adams said. “However, the K5 does have a button that connects you immediately to a live person that New Yorkers can utilize 24/7 with questions, concerns or to report an incident if needed.”
Adams told New York City residents that after the police robot’s pilot program is completed, the city will consider the effectiveness of the robot before determining its best potential use for the future.
While the new police robot will continuously record video of the subway system, New York City officials stressed that the K5 robot will not utilize facial recognition software or record audio on the subway.
“New Yorkers have strong opinions on technology,” Adams said, adding, “And while I believe it is our duty to utilize state-of-the-art technology advancements to help keep New Yorkers safe, I believe we must do it wisely and not intrusively.”
Adams also claimed that the cost of the NYPD leasing the K5 police robot is only $9 an hour. “I know you wanted to write how we’re wasting money, but I’m sorry I’m taking your thunder away,” he told reporters. “We’re leasing at $9 an hour.”
According to The New York Post, NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper warned that while the K5 robot will not utilize facial recognition or record audio, potential vandals of the police robot will face consequences.
“Let me say this: If anyone destroys this or vandalizes this, they’re going to be captured on video, and we’re going to prosecute them, and they’re going to be arrested,” Kemper said. The chief of transit added that vandalizing the police robot could lead to felony charges “depending on the damage” inflicted on the NYPD’s newest piece of technology.
The New York Post reported that the K5 robot will begin mapping out the subway station for two weeks prior to the start of patrols, which will begin next month.