A Robot Security Guard Just Drowned Itself by Driving into a Water Fountain

Jessica Miley

Apparently, even robots have bad days. For one robot, the bad day was just too much that it has thrown itself into a fountain. The security robot at a D.C. mall appears to have made the potentially suicidal decision all by itself. The fed up bot was a Knightscope K5. The K5 was developed as a security robot that uses facial recognition, and a variety of sensors to detect potential criminals.  

Clumsy robot designed in wake of U.S. violence

It is unclear if this particular K5 survived the dip or what were the reasons behind the plunge. Was it malware? Or had the overworked security guard simply had its fill? 

The makers of the K5, a robotics start-up based in Mountain View, California, were inspired to develop the robot after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  

This isn't the first time the K5 has made headlines

The bullet shaped robot stands at 5 feet tall and weighs 136 kilograms. Its armless design makes it difficult for the peacekeeper to get back up when pushed over. This isn't the first time the K5 has made headlines. Earlier this year a 41-year old was arrested after he pushed a K5 over as it patrolled a car park in Silicon Valley. The K5 isn’t always the victim though, last year a K5 at the Stanford Shopping Center in Silicon Valley ran into a toddler, before allegedly just rolling on.

Knightscope quickly put out apology calling the accident a ‘freakish accident’. Knightscope chief executive William Santana Li went on to say, "Our first thoughts are for the family and we are thankful there were no serious injuries. Our primary mission is to serve the public’s overall safety, and we take any circumstance that would compromise that mission very seriously."

A Robot Security Guard Just Drowned Itself by Driving into a Water Fountain

[Image Source: Knightscope]

Robots raise privacy issues

The K5’s ‘eye’ is able to be accessed by a constant video feed played back to the security headquarters. This has raised big questions about surveillance and privacy. There is no signage on the robot that indicates it is taking video footage, the robot can also take photographs without any warnings. Additionally, it has the ability to monitor conversations. The legislation around autonomous robots in public places has not kept up with the technology. Jeramie Scott, a national security fellow at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) was quoted as saying, “Automated surveillance, facial recognition and license plate recognition in public makes us all suspects. The K5 could become like a cuter, less aggressive Terminator that kills privacy instead of people.”

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