An ambitious and plucky startup registered in Mountain View, California, called Knightscope is building automated security robots to “build safer, engaged communities while significantly reducing costs and reducing crime.”
Launched on Seed Invest, the equity crowdfunding platform, the company’s pitch recently shows an “indicated interest” of nearly $48.5 million as part of what the company is calling a “Mini IPO”. Obviously, security is a major concern in the United States, and Knightscope was founded “because we were horrified by the mass shooting at Sandy Hook and the impact of 9/11 on our country.”
Though we fail to understand how security robots could have stopped either event – which occurred more than a decade apart, by the way – it’s clear that the company is trying to reduce crime in indoor and outdoor urban settings.
Meet Knightscope’s ADMs (Autonomous Data Machines)
The security robots are called Autonomous Data Machines, and they come in two models, the K3 and the K5. Maybe it’s just me, but they look like modern, armless avatars of the adorable R2-D2 from Star Wars!
They’ll move around a predesignated “geo-fenced” environment scanning things, recording video, processing a ton of information and sending it to a live operator. The security system uses predictive analytics, it charges autonomously on the job, it can live-stream the data from the operations center to iOS and Android devices and pretty much do everything that security personnel might do except carry a gun.
The company’s ambitions are certainly not small, and the founders aspire to “a grander vision to cut the annual $1 trillion negative economic impact of crime on the U.S. in half!”
But for that to happen they’d have to sell these units like hot cakes for several years or even decades. On the one side, there’s a big opportunity for companies to move ‘en masse’ into automated security systems; on the other, there’s a ton of competition in this space from private security giants like G4S, Securitas AB and ADT Corporation that have billions in annual turnovers.
In contrast, Knightscope is a fledgling company without the kind of financial clout that others can bring to the table. Besides, there are already several autonomous security systems in existence today and they haven’t fared all that well – or we’d have heard more about them by now. Take Angee, for example, the “world’s first truly autonomous home security system” that looks suspiciously like the Amazon Echo…
Such systems may not be mobile like Knightscope, but autonomous technology is advanced enough now for any tech company to jump in and start creating Knightscope perform-alikes.
It’s not that Knightscope won’t do well. Depending on their connections and how astutely they market the product, it could very well be a success in the security space. But we’re not as confident about them cutting the “annual $1 trillion negative economic impact of crime on the U.S. in half!”
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