Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Beep Beep: Should Your Business Hire a Crime Fighting Robot?

As the field of robotics continues to advance, society keeps inching closer to that science fiction fantasy world with Robocop and ED-209 keeping law abiding citizens safe. However, one Silicon Valley company, Knightscope, has already started deploying security robots on behalf of clients seeking cost effective security enhancements.

Unfortunately, the robots can't stop criminals by themselves, and that is by design (protocol number 1: do not harm humans). The K5 robot functions as a roaming set of super-powered eyes and ears, that can identify some forms of danger, suspicious activity, and crime, then contemporaneously report what it sees to the humans in charge. They come equipped with thermal and infrared vision. Currently, the K5s have been deployed in parking lots, malls, arenas, and corporate campuses.

Is Robot Security Right for Your Business?

As Knightscope points out, their security robots can be rather cost effective for certain clients. Coming in at a rental rate of $7 per hour, and given that it has super-power-like sight and hearing, the robot could actually be a boon for businesses that have high security costs. If your business requires security to patrol parking lots, or a large corporate campus, then one of these robots might be a great fit.

However, loss prevention, which is one of the biggest concerns of many small businesses, may not seem to be an issue these robots can directly address in the same way a human security guard can. The problem stems from the fact that loss prevention usually requires the immediate presence of security, and occasionally the use of reasonable force to detain a suspected shoplifter. These robots were specifically designed to not be able to detain, restrain, or use force against, any individuals, even criminals. However, in conjunction with a human partner, perhaps the pair could form the perfect, in store, crime fighting duo.

Unless your business is looking to add a robot to the team for patrol and assistive purposes, actual human security guards are likely better for your bottom line. Even though an individual who attacks a security robot could face criminal charges, these robots cannot stop a crime in progress, except by requesting human intervention.

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