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Police robot to patrol New York Subway station

USA: A police security robot is being trialled at the New York Subway’s Times Square station.

The K5 robot has been supplied by Knightscope, which develops autonomous security robots and emergency communication systems. The manufacturer said the K5 was designed to provided ‘force multiplying physical deterrence’, offering 360-degree, eye-level video streaming and recording.

The robot being deployed on the Subway will record video, but not audio and it will not use facial recognition. The City of New York Police Department said it used technology already in use; it would supplement existing monitoring and follow the same rules. New York City Transit President Richard Davey added that the Subway network already has ‘more cameras than a Las Vegas casino’.

The robot has a button which people can press to contract staff if they wish to ask questions or report any concerns.

The robot will spend two weeks on training, configuration and setup protocols to enable it to navigate the station, followed by patrol activities between midnight and 06.00. It will be accompanied by a police officer at all times, and will not operate on the platforms.

Following the trial a decision will be taken on any future use.

‘Today we are launching a pilot programme’, explained Mayor Eric Adams on September 22.

‘The NYPD must be on the forefront of technology and be two steps ahead of those utilising technology to hurt New Yorkers.’ He believed that the robot was ‘a good investment in taxpayer dollars’, as it operates ‘below minimum wage’ with ‘no bathroom breaks, no meal breaks’.

This article originally appeared on The Railway Gazette.

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