New Yorkers can say goodbye to the robot that the New York Police Department (NYPD) uses to patrol the Times Square subway station for now. The Knightscope K5, a 400-pound machine that could be R2-D2’s giant sibling, was one of New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ high-tech experiments. it happened deployed as a pilot last year ostensibly to help keep passengers safe, but it had no actual capabilities that would be useful in situations that needed to be addressed on site. “The K5 Knightscope has completed its pilot in the NYC subway system,” a department spokesperson said. The New York Times.
The K5 has cameras that can record video and a button that people can press to contact a live agent. He patrolled the station from midnight to 6 a.m. during his two-month trial, although “patrolling” might be a generous way of putting it. The machine has no arms and cannot go up or down stairs. Passengers said The Times that he usually has a few cops with him and almost always looks like he’s plugged in.
New York rented the K5 for about $9 an hour during a trial run that ended in December. “It’s below minimum wage,” Adams said as he announced the robot’s deployment at the Times Square station. “No bathroom breaks, no meal breaks.” At the time, privacy advocates worried that the machine could eventually be equipped with facial recognition and other controls. Of course, unless city officials decide to lease it for other purposes, they no longer have to worry about the K5 being used for surveillance in New York. This was reported by the representative of Knightscope The Times that the company is “not authorized to talk about certain clients,” which likely includes the NYC government.