- Knightscope provides the latest technological tools to law enforcement.
- Knightscope autonomous security robots (ASRs) can spot bad actors.
- Knightscope currently has three ASRs available.
- ASRs, supporting technologies all made in the United States.
Knightscope is out to make the United States of America the safest country in the world. The company, based in California’s Silicon Valley, is a pioneering developer of autonomous security robots (“ASRs”) designed to support human security and law enforcement personnel. Recently, Knightscope chairman and CEO William Santana Li sat down with Chris Lahiji, president of LD Micro, for a wide-ranging interview that covered the company’s genesis, its scorecard in raising capital and its ambitious goal to reimagine public safety.
Li is a veteran entrepreneur and former corporate executive of Ford Motor Company. He is also the founder of GreenLeaf, now part of LKQ Corporation (NASDAQ: LKQ), a company that became the world’s second-largest automotive recycler. The Knightscope name, he explained, combines two themes.
Knight is meant to signal the protection of the innocent so often associated with medieval knights in shining armor. That idealism is also apparent in Li’s ambitious goal “to make the United States of America the safest country in the world.” Second, scope means “to look at carefully” or to “investigate.” Knightscope wants to provide law enforcement and security personnel with “smart eyes and ears” so they can do their job more effectively. The company is well on its way to doing just that. It recently signed contracts with a number of utilities, casinos, hospitals, and municipalities and inked its first contract with the federal government earlier this year.
The global pandemic has intensified pursuit of new paradigms of public safety. New tools, technologies and processes are needed to support the thin blue line of law enforcement. Li explained how thin that line really is. There are, he said, about a million law enforcement professionals and a million security guards. That’s two million people whose services must cover a 24/7 period. Consequently, at any one time, only one-fourth of that pool is available as humans cannot be triple-shifted.
In reality, on a daily basis, “there are only five hundred thousand humans trying to secure 328 million Americans across 50 states,” Li noted. “That math just doesn’t work. And that’s why crime has a trillion-dollar negative economic impact on the U.S. every single year. It’s a hidden tax that we all pay in blood, tears and treasure.”
In the United States, the armed forces are supported by a huge military industrial complex and a centralized procurement agency, the Department of Defense. However, apart from the FBI, the law enforcement sector is relatively devoid of such coordinated assistance. “The U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have no jurisdiction over 19,000 law enforcement agencies and 8,000 private security firms,” says Li. The result is that state and municipal law enforcement personnel lack the latest technologies and tools available to their peers in the military.
Knightscope is intent on stepping into the breach. The company has developed robots that can read 1,200 license plates per minute, recognize an individual through facial features, run a thermal scan, check for rogue mobile devices and much more. Knightscope has already brought three ASRs to market: The K1 is a stationary robot that can be used at entrance and exit points, ideal for spotting already- identified bad actors. The K3 and K5 robots can move around. The K3 is designed for indoor use; the K5 for use outside.
The Knightscope autonomous security robots (“ASRs”) work best in conjunction with human security guards. Not only does their presence discourage criminal activity, but the robots act as extra eyes and ears that monitor the behavior of individuals and crowds. Moreover, their ability to record and amass data means that an ASR can retain a “memory” of events that no human can match. Deploying one is like having a cyborg for a security guard. The ASRs and all related technologies were developed domestically by Knightscope and manufactured in the United States.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.Knightscope.com.
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