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Mayor Adams’ NYPD To Deploy A “Robocop” To Patrol Times Square Subway

The New York Police Department will have a futuristic member in its ranks as a “robocop” will begin patrolling the subway station at Times Square.

As Gothamist reports, last Friday (Sept. 22) the Knightscope K5 Autonomous Security Robot was unveiled to the public at a press conference held underground at the 42nd Street-Times Square subway station. Mayor Eric Adams was on hand with the NYPD to announce that the city was launching a two-month program to test the K5 robot. “I’ve gone a long way from being a transit cop, to being next to a robot,” Adams said to reporters, grinning as he stood next to it. “We’re going to keep us safe no matter which way we do it.”

The K5 robot, shaped like a small rocket and painted white with glowing blue lights to indicate that it’s on and functioning, checks in at 5-foot-2 in height. Boasting a giant camera for a face, it will be accompanied as it roams throughout the station by officers who will be trained in its functions and introduce it to the public.  The K5 has 360-degree vision and moves at 3 miles per hour. It won’t access the subway platforms.

“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. 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,” said Mayor Adams. The K5’s camera will be part of the NYPD’s surveillance network in the subways.

Knightscope, the company behind the K5, states that their robot has been deployed in 10 states to 30 clients, including hospitals and shopping malls. There have been incidents where similar machines were attacked in other cities in Northern California including San Francisco. “If you come here and damage K5 or commit any crime in the subway system, prepare to be identified and arrested,” said NYPD Transit Chief Michael Kemper.

Mayor Adams also touted that it will be cost-effective to taxpayers as the city is leasing the robot for $9 an hour. “This is a good investment of taxpayer dollars,” he stated. “This is below minimum wage, no bathroom breaks, no meal breaks.” The K5 will operate from 12 A.M. to 6 A.M., with the city assessing its results after two months.

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