Citation record for Incident 51

Suggested citation format

Anonymous. (2016-07-12) Incident Number 51. in McGregor, S. (ed.) Artificial Intelligence Incident Database. Responsible AI Collaborative.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
Report Count
Incident Date
Editors
51
27
2016-07-12
Sean McGregor

CSET Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Full Description

On July 7, 2016, a Knightscope K5 autonomous security robot patrolling the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, CA collided with a 16-month old boy, leaving the boy with a scrape and minor swelling. The Knightscope K5 carries nearly 30 environment sensors including LIDAR, sonar, vibration detectors, and 360-degree HD video cameras. The company called this a “freakish accident” and apologized to the family.

Short Description

On July 7, 2016, a Knightscope K5 autonomous security robot collided with a 16-month old boy while patrolling the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, CA.

Severity

Minor

Harm Type

Harm to physical health/safety

AI System Description

Knightscope K5 autonomous security robot uses several environmental sensors and voice commands to conduct security operations.

System Developer

Knightscope

Sector of Deployment

Administrative and support service activities

Relevant AI functions

Perception, Cognition, Action

AI Techniques

machine learning

AI Applications

Image classification, image recognition, facial recognition, self-driving, environment sensing

Location

Palo Alto, CA

Named Entities

Knightscope, Knightscope K5, Stanford Shopping Center, Tiffany Teng, Harwin Cheng, William Santana Li

Technology Purveyor

Knightscope

Beginning Date

2016-07-07T07:00:00.000Z

Ending Date

2016-07-07T07:00:00.000Z

Near Miss

Harm caused

Intent

Accident

Lives Lost

No

Data Inputs

LIDAR, sonar, video camera, vibration detection, thermal anomaly detection, automatic signal detection, audio

Incidents Reports

July 13, 2016 05:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Knightscope, Inc., an advanced physical security technology company, is issuing its first incident report regarding operation of its Autonomous Data Machines.

Incident on July 7, 2016: A K5 Autonomous Data Machine (Machine Identification Number 13) was patrolling at a local shopping center when, at approximately 2:39pm PDT, a child left the vicinity of his guardians and began running towards the machine. The machine veered to the left to avoid the child, but the child ran backwards directly into the front quarter of the machine, at which point the machine stopped and the child fell on the ground. The machine’s sensors registered no vibration alert and the machine motors did not fault as they would when encountering an obstacle. Once the guardians retrieved the child and the path was clear, the machine resumed patrolling. The entire incident lasted a few seconds and a scrape on the child’s leg and a bruise with minor swelling were reported.

Track Record: K5 Autonomous Data Machines have driven over 25,000 miles and have been in operation for over 35,000 hours typically traveling at approximately 1 mph without any reported incidents. There have been thousands of encounters with adults, children and both large and small pets documented daily on social media that have also taken place without any reported incidents. Each K5 hosts nearly 30 sensors, including a multitude of laser ranging devices, sonar sensors and a robust software stack, allowing machines the capability to sense the surrounding environment from less than an inch away to over 300 feet.

Knightscope has reached out to the family on numerous occasions without reply. The Company is, therefore, publicly extending a formal apology for the freakish accident, and is extending an invitation to the family to meet at Knightscope’s Headquarters in Mountain View to learn more about the technology. The meeting would also allow the family to speak directly to the team and convey their experience since they have indicated their primary concern and motivator is to prevent another incident from occurring. The entire Knightscope team also wishes to respectfully apologize in person and learn from this incident.

The commercialization of autonomous technology has been under development by many companies for some time now. And similar to those other companies with emerging technologies, Knightscope is committed to continuous improvement, and has been for over three years. The Company stands by its stated mission to serve the community in the interest of public safety and will do so for decades to come.

“Our first thoughts are for the family and we are thankful there were no serious injuries,” said William Santana Li, chairman and chief executive officer, Knightscope, Inc. “Our primary mission is to serve the public’s overall safety, and we take any circumstance that would compromise that mission very seriously.”

About Knightscope, Inc.

Knightscope is an advanced security technology company that utilizes Software + Hardware + Humans to provide its customers with new groundbreaking anomaly detection capabilities. In an increasingly volatile world, we are developing one of the most important technologies to come out of Silicon Valley that will empower the public and private sectors to proactively build stronger, safer communities, ultimately saving money and lives. Crime has a $1 trillion negative economic impact on the U.S. every single year and our long-term mission is to cut it in half. Learn more at www.knightscope.com

Knightscope Issues Field Incident Report

16 mo old has injuries to leg, foot after @StanfordShop security robot knocks him down and runs him over. #paloalto pic.twitter.com/tJdDNeFJq1 — Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016

5 foot tall, 300lb security robot @StanfordShop injures 16 month old boy. Parents upset. #paloalto pic.twitter.com/CVfrqrkNh6 — Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016

Parents say 300lb security robot @StanfordShop knocks over their son and runs over his foot. pic.twitter.com/5IZ4oOkkNi — Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- The parents of a young boy who got knocked down and run over by a security robot at Stanford Shopping Center want to get the word out to prevent others from getting hurt.They said the machine is dangerous and fear another child will get hurt.Stanford Shopping Center's security robot stands 5' tall and weighs 300 pounds.It amuses shoppers of all ages, but last Thursday, 16-month-old Harwin Cheng had a frightening collision with the robot. "The robot hit my son's head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward," Harwin's mom Tiffany Teng said.Harwin's parents say the robot ran over his right foot, causing it to swell, but luckily the child didn't suffer any broken bones.Harwin also got a scrape on his leg from the incident. "He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries," Teng said.Stanford Shopping Center and Knightscope, the Mountain View company that built the robot have yet to respond to our emails and voice mail messages.The shopping center introduced the robot last year.It's designed to alert authorities of abnormal noises, sudden environmental changes, and known criminals.But the fact that it didn't seem to detect Harwin is something shoppers find disconcerting. "Garage doors nowadays, we're just in a day in age where everything has some sort of a sensor," shopper Ashle Gerrard said."Maybe they have to work out the sensors more. Maybe it stopped detecting or it could be buggy or something," shopper Ankur Sharma said.Harwin's parents say what's even more worrisome is that a security guard told them another child was hurt from the same robot days before.They hope by sharing their story, other parents will be careful the next time they're at Stanford Shopping Center.

Parents upset after Stanford Shopping Center security robot injures child

Gene Kim

Step aside, Paul Blart. There's a new mall cop in town.

Standing five feet and weighing in at 300 pounds, the K5 security robot wanders the grounds of corporate campuses, malls, and data centers in the Silicon Valley Area and gathers information from sensors and cameras. GPS technology allows it to move autonomously around assigned areas and report offenses back to the real cops.

Operating the K5 costs a fraction of a human security guard's hourly salary, and it's made less intimidating by its friendly appearance — like a love child between a Dalek and R2-D2.

Still, some Palo Alto, California, parents are losing it after a K5 allegedly knocked down and ran over a 1-year-old child at Stanford Shopping Center earlier this month. The boy's foot swelled and he got a scrape on his leg, though he is otherwise doing fine, ABC7 News reports.

A security guard at the mall told the boy's parents it was the second injury to a child caused by the same K5 unit in July.

Until now, the K5 has been a welcomed addition to the streets of Silicon Valley. It's developed by Knightscope, an autonomous technologies startup launched out of Mountain View, California, in 2013. Over the years, the company has deployed roughly two dozen K5s in the area.

Gene Kim

The bot comes equipped with sensors, lasers, and 360-degree cameras, and spends the day patrolling an assigned perimeter. It can detect sounds like cars honking, glass breaking, and people screaming, and scan license plates. When the K5 senses criminal activity, it alerts human authorities.

"They're meant for a support role, observing and reporting only," Stacy Stephens, VP of marketing for Knightscope told Fast Company in a 2015 interview. "There's no offensive measure to them at all."

The K5 has been a sort of icon among shoppers in Stanford. People tweet out videos of the robot strolling by and pose for selfies.

According to the Knightscope website, the K5 can "successfully navigate around people and objects in a dynamic indoor or outdoor environment."

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Robotic mall cop injured toddler at Stanford shopping center

16 mo old has injuries to leg, foot after @StanfordShop security robot knocks him down and runs him over. #paloalto pic.twitter.com/tJdDNeFJq1 — Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016

Last week in Palo Alto, a young boy was knocked down and run over by a robot security guard at Stanford Shopping Center. Thankfully, the kid is okay, but his parents are mad as hell. Wait, did I just read that right?Yes, there are robot mall security guards. And their people skills are apparently not so great. Last Thursday, 16-month-old Harwin Cheng had a frightening collision with the Stanford Shopping Center's robot."The robot hit my son's head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward," Harwin's mom Tiffany Teng told ABC7. The robot ran over Harwin's right foot, causing it to swell, but luckily didn't break any bones. He also had a scrape on his leg from the incident.The Knightscope K5, which stands five feet tall and weighs 300 pounds, was introduced at the shopping center last year. It's designed to alert authorities of abnormal noises, sudden environmental changes, and known criminals. It is apparently not so good at not running over little kids.According to Harwin's parents, a security guard told them that another child was hurt just days before by the same robot. It seems there might be a serious design flaw in the Knightscope K5.Or maybe the robot uprising has begun.More here: Stanford Shopping Center: Mall docks robot cops after kid hit

Mall security robot injures toddler

A security robot at the Stanford Mall in Palo Alto, California recently went rogue and knocked a 16-month old boy down before running over his leg (links to a video news report if you're interested). Wow, going for the weakest of the herd -- just like a real predator.

The shopping center introduced the robot last year.

It's designed to alert authorities of abnormal noises, sudden environmental changes, and known criminals. But the fact that it didn't seem to detect Harwin is something shoppers find disconcerting. "Garage doors nowadays, we're just in a day in age where everything has some sort of a sensor," shopper Ashle Gerrard said. "Maybe they have to work out the sensors more. Maybe it stopped detecting or it could be buggy or something," shopper Ankur Sharma said.

Ahahahhahaha, I love how they got the expert opinion of two random mall shoppers. Obviously these people know what's up and it's a sensor issue and not the fact that robots are heartless, cold-blooded killers. Man, I wish I could have been there to give an interview because I would have spoken some TRUTH. Or stolen the reporter's mic and pretended it was a robot penis, it really depends on how many margaritas I had with lunch. And by with I mean for.

Keep going for a video of the robot trying to pretend it's not a murderous attack-machine.

Thanks to Rub Chicken, who does all his purchasing online to avoid overzealous mall robot security guards.

300-Pound Mall Security Guard Robot Goes Rogue, Knocks Down Kid, Runs Him Over

Robots might be cheaper to employ than humans, but it seems they still need to work on their people skills. Last week, a robot security guard at the Stanford Shopping Center in Silicon Valley knocked down a toddler while on duty and then apparently just kept on driving. A report from local news channel ABC7 says the bot hit 16-month-old Harwin Cheng, knocking him to the floor.

Cheng was not seriously hurt by the incident, but we're still going to chalk this up as a violation of Isaac Asimov's first law of robotics: "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." Here's ABC7's story:

It amuses shoppers of all ages, but last Thursday, 16-month-old Harwin Cheng had a frightening collision with the robot. "The robot hit my son's head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward," Harwin's mom Tiffany Teng said. Harwin's parents say the robot ran over his right foot, causing it to swell, but luckily the child didn't suffer any broken bones. Harwin also got a scrape on his leg from the incident. "He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries," Teng said.

16 mo old has injuries to leg, foot after @StanfordShop security robot knocks him down and runs him over. #paloalto pic.twitter.com/tJdDNeFJq1 — Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016

The robot in question was the Knightscope K5, a five-foot, 300-pound machine that began trials in the mall last year. The robot trundles about on wheels and uses an array of sensors and cameras to monitor its environment. Human security guards can direct it to certain locations to see what's going on, and the bot is supposed to report any unusual activity to a central guard station. The robot's creators describe it as possessing a "commanding physical presence" combined with "advanced technology."

The k5 costs just $6.25 an hour to employ — less than minimum wage

It's not clear exactly what happened with Harwin Cheng, and Knightscope has yet to issue any statement on the matter or respond to requests for comment from The Verge. And while it seems the incident with Cheng was minor, Knightscope obviously wouldn't want something like this to happen again. Even though the K5 only costs $6.25 an hour to employ (that's lower than minimum wage), no-one's going to hire a robot that runs into children.

Update July 14th 03.40AM ET: Knightscope has issued a statement on the incident, describing it as a "freakish accident," and stressing that the K5 has driven more than 25,000 miles without similar occurrences. The company also said it reached out to the Chengs multiple times with no response, and has invited the family to the Knightscope headquarters so team members can "respectfully apologize in person and learn from this incident."

The company also provided a description of the event as registered by their sensors:

A K5 Autonomous Data Machine (Machine Identification Number 13) was patrolling at a local shopping center when, at approximately 2:39pm PDT, a child left the vicinity of his guardians and began running towards the machine. The machine veered to the left to avoid the child, but the child ran backwards directly into the front quarter of the machine, at which point the machine stopped and the child fell on the ground. The machine’s sensors registered no vibration alert and the machine motors did not fault as they would when encountering an obstacle. Once the guardians retrieved the child and the path was clear, the machine resumed patrolling. The entire incident lasted a few seconds and a scrape on the child’s leg and a bruise with minor swelling were reported.

"Our first thoughts are for the family and we are thankful there were no serious injuries," said Knightscope chief executive William Santana Li. "Our primary mission is to serve the public’s overall safety, and we take any circumstance that would compromise that mission very seriously."

Can we build a conscious computer?

Mall security bot knocks down toddler, breaks Asimov's first law of robotics

Proving that the future is either too close or very far away, a mall security robot in Palo Alto, CA, allegedly injured a toddler by knocking him down and running him over.

"The robot hit my son's head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward," Tiffany Teng, the mother of 16-month year old Harwin, told the local ABC News.

The robot was developed by Knightscope, a security technology company that advertises both the robot at the mall, a K5, and it's smaller sibling, the K3, on the front page of its website. The K5 weighs 300 pounds and has been embraced by companies like Uber as a safe protection system. The K5 is autonomous, with no remote control, and has thermal detection capabilities, as well as weather sensors, license plate identification, and numerous other bells and whistles.

When asked by a reporter with Fusion if the K5 was like a moving security camera, Stacy Stephens, Knightscope's VP of marketing, said that such a description "oversimplifies it because there are so many sensors." he said. Stephens also told Fusion that would-be criminals up against the K5 would have "the gut-wrenching feeling of an intimidating physical presence." Knightscope often notes the K5's "physical presence" be it on its website or in a promotional video laden with EDM.

There's no word yet on how intimidated baby Harwin was, just that his leg began to swell and his knee got a nasty scrape from his encounter with the robot.

Source: Gizmodo

Mall Robot Security Guard Runs Over Toddler

This article has been updated to reflect comment from Knightscope.

After a 5-foot tall, 300 pound security robot reportedly knocked down and ran over a 16-month-old child at a shopping center in Palo Alto, Califo., the child’s parents are speaking out about the danger they feel the machine presents.

“The robot hit my son’s head, and he fell down facing down on the floor, and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward,” the child’s mom, Tiffany Teng, told local ABC affiliate, ABC7.

The shopping center introduced the robot last year. It’s designed to alert authorities of shoplifters, among other things, according to ABC7.

16 mo old has injuries to leg, foot after @StanfordShop security robot knocks him down and runs him over. #paloalto pic.twitter.com/tJdDNeFJq1 — Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016

Teng said her son was “crying like crazy” after the robot ran over his right foot, which swelled but was not broken, according to ABC7. Teng also told the station that a security guard told her another child was hurt from the same robot days before.

Stanford Shopping Center and Knightscope, the company that built the robot, did not respond to ABC7’s contact attempts, the station reported.

“Our first thoughts are for the family and we are thankful there were no serious injuries,” William Santana Li, chairman and chief executive officer of Knightscope, told Fortune in a prepared statement. “Our primary mission is to serve the public’s overall safety, and we take any circumstance that would compromise that mission very seriously.”

As robots enter the mainstream, more companies are turning to machines to replace human workers in less skilled professions. The co-founders of Skype recently launched a self-driving delivery robot in four European cities. The robots have been tested over 5,000 miles, encountering more than 400,000 people with no reported accidents.

Meanwhile, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s said he’d be happy to try out an employee-free operation with a handful of kitchen workers and computerization of all front-of-house procedures.

Fortune has reached to Stanford Shopping Center and will update the story if it responds.

Shopping Center Security Robot Reportedly Runs Over Toddler

The oblong security robots that are equal parts creepy and helpful with just a dash of Dalek are popping up everywhere from shopping malls to tech company campuses. Created by Knightscope, the five-foot-tall, 300-pound K5 robots roll around and monitor areas for criminals and changes in the environment.

At the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California, a 16-month-old boy was injured by the robot after the device ran into him and just kept going, ABC 7 news reported.

According to his parents, the robot hit Harwin Cheng’s head, causing the boy to fall down. The robot proceeded to move forward, running over Cheng’s right foot, resulting in a minor injury.

16 mo old has injuries to leg, foot after @StanfordShop security robot knocks him down and runs him over. #paloalto pic.twitter.com/tJdDNeFJq1 — Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016

The security guard at the shopping center reportedly told the family that another child was injured by the robot recently, too.

Neither Knightscope nor the Stanford Shopping Center replied to the Daily Dot’s requests for comment, but the robot makers told Fusion the incident at the mall was the first of its kind and that robots have logged 35,000 hours and 25,000 miles of travel time. Stacy Stephens, vice president of marketing at Knightscope, said the report of a robot injuring a child is “horrifying,” and the company has reached out to the family with an invitation to join them at the office so employees can personally apologize.

The shopping center has reportedly launched an investigation into the incident and has docked the robots until it is complete.

Automated safety tools like the security robots patrolling large areas rely on sensors and other preprogrammed features to recognize objects and potential threats.

The robot’s failure to recognize a child is not the first time a popular automated service failed. Earlier this year, Consumer Reports found that the Summon feature on Tesla vehicles that allows a car to park itself could not recognize small objects placed in front of it, including a duffel bag and a bicycle. Though the company quickly released a fix, the initial programming could have been problematic had a small child or animal stepped in front of the car.

For now, it might be a good idea to keep kids away from those egg-shaped rolling robots. At least until they can learn to recognize and avoid running into children.

H/T Fusion

Security robot injures 16-month-old child at California mall

When the Mercury News wrote in May about the Stanford Shopping Center’s new security guard robot, it said the five-foot-tall, 300 pound Knightscope K5 “can remain on the lookout for bad guys while entertaining kids at the same time.” Less than two months later, the Mercury News wrote about the K5 again. This time, however, the kids were not entertained. They were terrified.

Concerned mother Tiffany Teng told local news station KGO that her 16-month-old son, Harwin Cheng, had a scary encounter with the robot meant to protect us from harm. According to Teng, “The robot hit my son’s head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward.”

Teng said the K5 then ran over her son’s foot. She provided KGO with images of the baby’s foot, swollen and scraped, and said he was “crying like crazy” when it happened. He did not suffer any broken bones, she said. He may, however, have a lifelong fear of robots and/or mall security guards. It is too soon to tell.

Teng wanted the world to know what happened so that parents of small children would be careful around the Palo Alto mall’s robots, saying she heard from a (presumably human) security guard that this had happened to at least one other child a few days before it happened to hers.

Stanford Shopping Center told Vocativ that its K5s have been “docked” while it investigates Teng’s claims.

“The safety of our shoppers is always our highest priority,” the mall said in a statement.

Knightscope, the robot maker, did not respond to request for comment.

This article has been updated to add a statement from Stanford Shopping Center.

The Future Is Here: A Mall Security Robot May Have Run Over A Child

The 300-pound, 5-foot-tall "K5" mechanical guard, built by Knightscope, designed to alert security guards to disturbances and detect known shoplifters with its camera, pounced on an innocent 1-year-old at the Stanford Shopping Center, and the 16-month-old child's parents said this isn't its first attack.

300-pound security robot goes haywire, runs over 1-year-old boy at California mall

Step aside, Paul Blart. There’s a new mall cop in town.

Standing five feet and weighing in at 300 pounds, the K5 security robot wanders the grounds of corporate campuses, malls, and data centres in the Silicon Valley Area and gathers information from sensors and cameras. GPS technology allows it to move autonomously around assigned areas and report offenses back to the real cops.

Operating the K5 costs a fraction of a human security guard’s hourly salary, and it’s made less intimidating by its friendly appearance — like a love child between a Dalek and R2-D2.

Still, some Palo Alto, California, parents are losing it after a K5 allegedly knocked down and ran over a 1-year-old child at Stanford Shopping Center earlier this month. The boy’s foot swelled and he got a scrape on his leg, though he is otherwise doing fine, ABC7 News reports.

16 mo old has injuries to leg, foot after @StanfordShop security robot knocks him down and runs him over. #paloalto pic.twitter.com/tJdDNeFJq1 — Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016

A security guard at the mall told the boy’s parents it was the second injury to a child caused by the same K5 unit in July.

Until now, the K5 has been a welcomed addition to the streets of Silicon Valley. It’s developed by Knightscope, an autonomous technologies startup launched out of Mountain View, California, in 2013. Over the years, the company has deployed roughly two dozen K5s in the area.

The bot comes equipped with sensors, lasers, and 360-degree cameras, and spends the day patrolling an assigned perimeter. It can detect sounds like cars honking, glass breaking, and people screaming, and scan licence plates. When the K5 senses criminal activity, it alerts human authorities.

“They’re meant for a support role, observing and reporting only,” Stacy Stephens, VP of marketing for Knightscope told Fast Company in a 2015 interview. “There’s no offensive measure to them at all.”

The K5 has been a sort of icon among shoppers in Stanford. People tweet out videos of the robot strolling by and pose for selfies.

Things you see only in #SiliconValley. Welcome to the Future. pic.twitter.com/W2ZvwQUz4d

— Raymond Chung (@raymondchung) June 27, 2016

Selfie with a security robot. More evidence for future robots that they should spare me. #BFFs #survivor pic.twitter.com/rGC6rAdbZA

— Blake Commagere (@commagere) April 13, 2016

According to the Knightscope website, the K5 can “successfully navigate around people and objects in a dynamic indoor or outdoor environment.”

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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A real-life robocop patrolling Silicon Valley allegedly ran over a child in a mall

PALO ALTO — Stanford Shopping Center has temporarily docked its futuristic security robots after one of the 5-foot-tall, 300-pound mechanical guards reportedly ran into and hurt a young child last week.

“We are investigating this incident thoroughly, and the K5 units have been docked until the investigation is complete,” the mall said in a statement Tuesday.

The Shopping Center introduced the gliding “K5” robot, built by the Mountain View startup Knightscope, last year. The robot uses an array of cameras and sensors to monitor and report suspicious activity while hopefully deterring crime with its watchful presence. Since it’s debut, the novelty has fascinated many shoppers.

But Thursday’s incident called the robots into question.

San Jose resident Tiffany Teng said she was walking with her husband and their 16-month-old son, Harwin Cheng, when the robot collided with the child, knocking him face down on the ground. Instead of stopping, Teng said, the robot proceeded to roll over Harwin’s right foot, leaving swelling and a scrape on the child’s leg.

Teng said that she screamed and pushed against the robot to stop its movement forward, but without success — her husband had to pull the child away. Harwin suffered no serious injuries, but was crying “like crazy” after the incident, she said.

At Teng’s request Stanford Shopping Center security personnel ultimately called an ambulance, which confirmed that the boy was all right but advised seeing a doctor, Teng said.

Still, Teng, a regular at the upscale shopping center, was rattled enough by the incident to be wary of returning and said she had heard of a similar prior incident.

“Right now I don’t think I would ever go there again,” Teng said.

The shopping center did not comment on Teng’s mention of a previous robot incident, and declined to say how many robots the Center operates. But a spokesperson emphasized that the mall prioritizes shoppers’ safety.

Stacy Stephens, Knightscope’s vice president of marketing and sales, said via email Tuesday night that Knightscope takes the issue at Stanford Shopping Center very seriously has invited Teng and her family to meet the company’s team in person.

“Hearing a report that one of our machines may have injured someone is absolutely horrifying,” Stephens wrote. “Many of our team members are parents and understand the importance of protecting our children at all costs.”

According to Stephens, Knightscope has not heard of any similar incidents with its machines, which have collectively traveled over 25,000 miles. K5 can be found in other places around California including Qualcomm in San Diego and Northland Controls in Fremont. Knightscope told CBS in 2014 that the company had “a long waiting list of about four dozen companies waiting” for its roving robot.

Contact Hannah Knowles at 408-920-5767. Follow her at Twitter.com/KnowlesHannah.

Stanford Shopping Center: Mall docks robot cops after kid hit

A young boy was knocked down and run over by a 5-foot-tall, 300-pound security robot at a California mall on Thursday.

Sixteen-month-old Harwin Cheng suffered a swollen foot and several scrapes in the scary encounter at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto.

“The robot hit my son’s head and he fell down — facing down on the floor — and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward,” Harwin’s mom, Tiffany Teng, told ABC 7.

Teng said that the robot would have run over her son’s other foot had her husband not pulled the boy away.

ABC 7 reporter Lilian Kim tweeted a photo of Harwin’s injury next to the accused robot:

16 mo old has injuries to leg, foot after @StanfordShop security robot knocks him down and runs him over. #paloalto pic.twitter.com/tJdDNeFJq1 — Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016

The security robots are made by a company called Knightscope, located in Mountain View. The K5 version uses lasers, thermal imaging sensors, 360 video, air quality sensors, a microphone and various other technologies to deter and detect criminal activities. In the event of suspicious activity, the robot alerts local human authorities.

Stacy Dean Stephens, Knightscope vice president of marketing and sales, told NBC Bay Area that the company does not think the robots are dangerous.

“This is a horrific accident, but we believe the technology and the machines are incredibly safe and we will continue to do our best to make sure that they are,” Stephens said.

The Stanford Shopping Center has used the technology for about a year. Representatives also told the NBC station that the shopping center is investigating the incident and will dock all of its security robots until further notice.

300-Pound Security Robot Runs Over Toddler At California Shopping Center

Harwin Cheng does not welcome our new robot overlords. The 16-month-old boy was allegedly knocked down and run over by a Knightscope K5 security robot at the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford Shopping Center.

The K5 security robot stands five feet tall and weighs 300 pounds. Harwin didn’t suffer any serious injuries, but the robot ran over his right foot, causing some swelling, and left a scrape on his leg.

“The robot hit my son’s head, and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward,” said Harwin’s mother, Tiffany, in an ABC7 News report. “He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries.”

The Stanford Shopping Center started using the K5 security robot in 2015 to alert authorities of abnormal noises, sudden environmental changes, and known criminals. The autonomous robot has a video camera, thermal imaging sensors, a laser range finder, radar, air quality sensors, and a microphone.

Harwin’s parents said they were told by a security guard that the K5 security robot hurt another child just days earlier.

“Maybe they have to work out the sensors more,” said shopper Ankur Sharma. “Maybe it stopped detecting or it could be buggy or something.”

Update: July 14, 10:50 AM ET: Knightscope issued the following statement about this incident:

Incident on July 7, 2016: A K5 Autonomous Data Machine (Machine Identification Number 13) was patrolling at a local shopping center when, at approximately 2:39pm PDT, a child left the vicinity of his guardians and began running towards the machine. The machine veered to the left to avoid the child, but the child ran backwards directly into the front quarter of the machine, at which point the machine stopped and the child fell on the ground. The machine’s sensors registered no vibration alert and the machine motors did not fault as they would when encountering an obstacle. Once the guardians retrieved the child and the path was clear, the machine resumed patrolling. The entire incident lasted a few seconds and a scrape on the child’s leg and a bruise with minor swelling were reported. Track Record: K5 Autonomous Data Machines have driven over 25,000 miles and have been in operation for over 35,000 hours typically traveling at approximately 1 mph without any reported incidents. There have been thousands of encounters with adults, children and both large and small pets documented daily on social media that have also taken place without any reported incidents. Each K5 hosts nearly 30 sensors, including a multitude of laser ranging devices, sonar sensors and a robust software stack, allowing machines the capability to sense the surrounding environment from less than an inch away to over 300 feet. Knightscope has reached out to the family on numerous occasions without reply. The Company is, therefore, publicly extending a formal apology for the freakish accident, and is extending an invitation to the family to meet at Knightscope’s Headquarters in Mountain View to learn more about the technology. The meeting would also allow the family to speak directly to the team and convey their experience since they have indicated their primary concern and motivator is to prevent another incident from occurring. The entire Knightscope team also wishes to respectfully apologize in person and learn from this incident. The commercialization of autonomous technology has been under development by many companies for some time now. And similar to those other companies with emerging technologies, Knightscope is committed to continuous improvement, and has been for over three years. The Company stands by its stated mission to serve the community in the interest of public safety and will do so for decades to come. “Our first thoughts are for the family and we are thankful there were no serious injuries,” said William Santana Li, chairman and chief executive officer, Knightscope, Inc. “Our primary mission is to serve the public’s overall safety, and we take any circumstance that would compromise that mission very seriously.”

[Source] ABC7 News

[Via] Gizmodo

More on Robotics and Security:

K5 Security Robot Runs Over Toddler at California Mall [Updated]

A security robot employed to guard a shopping centre in California ran over a toddler, leaving them bruised with a swollen foot and sore head.

The 136kg robot didn't notice when it ran into the 16-month-year-old child and carried on driving.

"The robot hit my son's head and he fell face down on the floor. The robot did not stop, it kept moving forward," Tiffany Cheng, the toddler's mother, to ABC 7. "He was crying like crazy."

Robot security guard knocks over toddler at shopping centre

A roving security robot has been patrolling parts of Palo Alto since last year, with the sole job of protecting the people around it. The robo mall cop recently failed on that front when it knocked over and injured a toddler.

As a cheaper alternative to human labor, Uber hired the K5 to patrol a lot where its drivers can go for free vehicle inspections in the Bay Area. The Stars Wars-esque robot debuted in Stanford Shopping Center on May 4th last year.

The 5-foot-tall, 300-pound K5 injured 16-month-old Harwin Cheng at the mall last week, ABC7 reported. “The robot hit my son’s head and he fell down facing down on the floor, and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward,” Harwin’s mom Tiffany Teng told ABC7. Teng said the robot ran over Cheng’s foot, causing it to swell up, and scraped his leg.

Unlike its Chinese doppelganger, Anbot, this bullet-shaped bot doesn’t have any combat features like built-in tasers. Instead, it gathers real-time data through sensors, as well as from publicly available data from businesses, government, and social data feeds. If the robots detect cause for concern in the area, an alert is sent to the community and authorities through the Knightscope Security Operations Center, Palo Alto Online reported.

Knightscope, which shares Google’s home in Mountain View, did not respond to a request for comment.

A robot mall cop did more harm than good

Tiffany Teng told KGO-TV that she and her family were visiting the Stanford Shopping Center on Thursday when the robot, also known as an autonomous data machine, suddenly hit her son's head and caused him to fall to the ground. While still on the ground, the robot ran over his right foot, which became swollen, she told the news station.

Crime-fighting robot hits, rolls over child at Silicon Valley mall

For Silicon Valley toddlers who are learning to walk, there's a new lesson -- watch out for the robots.

A mother and father watched in horror as a security robot at a mall in California knocked their 16-month-old to the ground and ran over one of his feet. The family and the company that makes the robot have shared conflicting accounts of the run-in.

The Tengs headed to the Stanford Shopping Center Thursday afternoon with plans to buy their son new clothes. As they walked passed an Armani Exchange -- with their son several steps ahead -- they noticed a robot slowly approaching them.

Tiffany Teng said the robot ran directly into her son -- striking him in the head and knocking him to the ground. The robot continued forward, running over the boy's right foot.

"What is that thing? What is that thing!" Teng said she screamed as she tried to push the 300-pound robot off her son.

"I tried all my strength to push it back and make it stop, but it didn't," Teng said.

Then her husband intervened, pulling the crying child out from under the robot. She figured he had broken bones.

Knightscope, which makes the robot, said the machine veered to the left to avoid the child, but the toddler ran backwards directly in the front of the machine. Teng said her son was not capable of running backwards.

"Hearing a report that one of our machines may have injured someone is absolutely horrifying," said Knightscope vice president of marketing and sales Stacy Dean Stephens. "Our core mission is to ensure public safety, and we are taking this report very seriously."

X-rays taken after the incident were negative. The toddler has a scrape on the back of one of his knees.

Related: MIT robot helps deliver babies

The K5 robot stands 5 feet tall and resembles a squat white rocket. It is designed to patrol malls, campuses and workplaces. Cameras stream live video, and Knightscope says it can predict unusual and potentially dangerous behavior.

Tiffany Teng, who lives in San Jose, said she'd been to the mall many times but never seen the robot before.

"It didn't have a sign saying, 'Go away, do not touch,'" Teng said. "It looks just like R2D2, it's attractive."

She said a mall employee lamented that this was the second time in a week a child had been struck by the robot. Knightscope said this is the only report it has received.

A spokeswoman for Simon Property Group, which runs Stanford Shopping Center, said it is investigating the incident and its robots are docked until the investigation wraps up. It declined to say whether there had been another accident.

Related: Robot's role in killing Dallas shooter is a first

The run-in occurred in the heart of America's booming tech sector. It's a reminder of how robots are steadily making their way into everyday lives, bringing both good and bad. While robots can make businesses more efficient and improve some aspects of our lives, they will be prone to the same bugs as computers.

Knightscope claims on its website that the K5 can safely navigate around people and objects. It has nearly 30 sensors, but the small size of a toddler appeared to confuse it.

The blind spots of robots surfaced earlier this month when a Tesla sedan on autopilot didn't recognize a turning tractor-trailer, leading to a crash that killed its driver.

Stephens said Knightscope machines have run more than 35,000 hours and covered 25,000 miles. The company's first robot was released in 2013.

The company offered to let the Tengs visit the Mountain View, California, company to learn more about how the robot works.

"I don't know if my son is ready," Teng said. "He will probably see this robot and start crying."

300-pound mall robot runs over toddler

Image copyright Knightscope Image caption The Knightscope robots have been taken off duty while the incident is investigated

Security robots at a shopping centre in Silicon Valley have been taken off duty after one of them ran over a toddler.

His mother told ABC News the robot had hit her son's head, "he fell down on the floor, and the robot did not stop".

The 16-month-old, Harwin Cheng, was left with swelling to his right foot.

The robot's developer, Californian start-up Knightscope, apologised for the "freakish accident" and invited the family to visit its Mountain View headquarters.

Image copyright Twitter Image caption Reporter Lilian Kim tweeted pictures of the boy's injury and the robot

It said: "A child... began running towards the machine.

"The machine veered to the left to avoid the child, but the child ran backwards directly into the front quarter of the machine, at which point the machine stopped and the child fell on the ground.

"The machine's sensors registered no vibration alert, and the machine motors did not fault as they would when encountering an obstacle."

Image copyright Twitter Image caption The developer Knightscope launched an immediate incident report

Knightscope said the 5ft (1.5m), 300lb (136kg) K5 Autonomous Data Machines, which patrols pre-programmed routes recording video in both normal and infrared vision, had, until now, been in operation for more than 35,000 hours and covered more than 25,000 miles "without any reported incidents".

Chief executive William Santana Li said: "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."

Robot runs over toddler in shopping centre

Palo Alto - A 16-month-old toddler in California is going to grow up with fear of, and possibly respect for, robots and what they are capable of doing after he was run over by a security guard robot at a local shopping mall.

Parents watch in horror as security robot runs over their child

LISTEN | PRINT

BY KAREN GRAHAM JUL 14, 2016 IN TECHNOLOGY

Palo Alto - A 16-month-old toddler in California is going to grow up with fear of, and possibly respect for, robots and what they are capable of doing after he was run over by a security guard robot at a local shopping mall.

A 300-pound autonomous security robot at the Stanford Shopping Mall in Palo Alto, California collided with 16-month-old Harwin Cheng last Thursday as he was walking several steps ahead of his parents.

The Tengs saw the robot slowly approaching them and suddenly they were watching in horror as the robot knocked their son to the floor and kept right on moving, running over the boy's right foot.

"The robot hit my son's head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward," Harwin's mom Tiffany Teng told ABC 7 News. "He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries," Teng said.

Luckily, Harwin didn't suffer any serious injuries other than a bruised right foot and a scrape on the knee. The parents are saying the machine is dangerous. By going public, they hope to get the word out to prevent others from getting hurt.

16 mo old has injuries to leg, foot after StanfordShop security robot knocks him down and runs him over. paloalto tJdDNeFJq1

— Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016

The Knightscope Autonomous Data Machine

Gizmodo reports that the robot was developed by Knightscope, a Silicon Valley start-up located in Mountain View. The company advertises two robots, the K3 and K5. The machines are called Autonomous Data Machines (ADMs).

The K5 involved in the incident stands fice feet tall and resembles a squat, white rocket, or a very toned-down R2-D2 character from Star Wars. K5 is a "force multiplier, data gatherer, and your smart eyes and ears on the ground both inside and outdoors," says the company.

The ADM uses sensors, lasers and a huge amount of code as it roams a geo-fenced area autonomously, on its own in a random pattern, or based on a selected patrolling algorithm. Knightscope claims that over time, ADMs will be able to “see, feel, hear and smell, enabling a unique approach to sensor fusion and analytics."

Parents say 300lb security robot @StanfordShop knocks over their son and runs over his foot. pic.twitter.com/5IZ4oOkkNi

— Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016

Problems with autonomous driving technology?

But even with the K5's capabilities, for some reason it did not sense the toddler, not did it come to a halt when it collided with him. When the Knightscope K5 senses trouble, it is programmed to alert local authorities, although it didn't seem too interested in alerting anyone when it ran into the child.

For some reason, the robot's sensors didn't detect Harwin, and that is the big problem. Knightscope says that the K5 has over 30 sensors, but the small child appeared to confuse the machine. And because computers and autonomous driving technology capabilities are dependent on humans, it looks like the Knightscope K5 is sitting in the same boat as Tesla Motors.

The "blind-spots" in the K5 ADM and with Tesla's AutoPilot systems need to be reexamined and fine-tuned before the public becomes totally comfortable around the new technology.

Parents watch in horror as security robot runs over their child

The whole point of a security robot is to protect people and/or things, which makes a recent incident with one in the real world (in case you hadn’t realized we’d reached that level of “future” yet) that much more upsetting: A 300-pound, Dalek-shaped security robot knocked down a toddler and then proceeded to run the child over. Where are those AI safeguards we talked about, Google?

Despite its behavior, the robot in question is not an actual Dalek (as we know, those still have fleshy organisms inside and technically aren’t robots) but a Knightscope K5 security robot. Microsoft employs these same robots at its Silicon Valley campus, but tech headquarters have one notable difference—a general lack of children—from malls, which is where Tiffany Teng’s son encountered the robot.

Adults may, for the most part, be large enough for the robot to notice and avoid, or they may be aware enough to avoid it themselves, but a 16-month-old toddler enjoys neither of those advantages. When the Teng family went to the Stanford Shopping Center in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, the robot first approached them slowly before knocking into the child and then running over his foot and scraping his leg as Tiffany Teng tried to push it off. Luckily, her son made it through the incident with no serious injuries.

CNN reports that Knightscope’s account of the incident is a little different, saying the robot tried to steer to the side and avoid the child, but he ran backwards in front of it. Teng, on the other hand, insists her son isn’t capable of running backwards. Maybe he stumbled backwards after an initial glancing impact? The K5 is capable of recording video from four cameras around its body, but that doesn’t mean it captured everything entirely clearly—and either way, the robot shouldn’t have trouble avoiding a child. CNN also mentions that a mall employee said this was the second such incident involving a child, but this is the first one reported to Knightscope.

Stacy Dean Stephens, Knightscope vice president of marketing and sales, said, “Hearing a report that one of our machines may have injured someone is absolutely horrifying. Our core mission is to ensure public safety, and we are taking this report very seriously.” The company has extended an offer for the family to visit their office and learn more about the robot, but unsurprisingly, Teng isn’t enticed by the offer.

As robots become a more prevalent part of everyday life, we definitely need to work on making sure they’re not doing more harm than good. Safe navigation is a key issue, and there are technologies in the works, and surely more to come, that should help things along and hopefully avoid issues like this in the future.

(image via Knightscope)

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Dalek Security Robot Runs Over Toddler's Leg

A mall in Silicon Valley this week suspended its security robots after a collision involving one of them resulted in a toddler getting a bruised leg—a reversal from children harassing robots at the mall.

The accident could reignite fears about evil robots that many robot makers have tried to overcome with cute designs.

The robot company, Knightscope...

Security Robot Suspended After Colliding With a Toddler

The Stanford Shopping Centre has suspended its security robots following an incident last week in which a 16-month-old boy collided with one of its machines, resulting in a minor injury. A K5 unit. (Image: Knightscope)

The toddler, Harwin Cheng, was walking in front of his parents outside an Armani Exchange store when his mother pointed out the robot coming their way. The child didn't notice the machine, and he bumped into it, falling forward. According to the mother's accounts, the security robot just kept on going, running over Harwin's foot and resulting in a nasty bruise.

In response, the Stanford Shopping Centre in Palo Alto, California, is investigating the incident, and it has docked its robots until further notice. The company that developed the robot, Knightscope, called the incident a "freakish accident" and has issued a formal apology to the family.

"Our primary mission is to serve the public's overall safety, and we take any circumstance that would compromise that mission very seriously," said William Santana Li, Knightscope's chief executive.

The company claims that the machine, a K5 unit equipped with nearly 30 sensors, should have registered a vibration if and when it ran over Harwin's foot. The incident prompted Knightscope to file a field incident report — the first such report after 40,200km of total travel made by its robotic fleet. The company's account of the incident varies a bit from that of the mother's. Knightscope claims that Harwin ran backward "directly" into the machine, prompting the robot to stop, and that's when the child fell.

Regardless of what happened, there's no disputing that a child got hurt, even if it was a minor injury. Malls may find it cute and expedient to have robotic security guards roaming the corridors, but they clearly need to take account of these mechanical lumbering beasts which weigh 135kg and stand 1.5m tall.

[Wall Street Journal]

Shopping Centre Suspends Security Robot After It Clobbered A Toddler

Last week in the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California, a robot security guard knocked over a 17-month-old kid and ran over his right foot. The robot, which weighs in at 300 pounds and stands five feet tall, is one of two security robots in the mall’s employ. Yes, that’s right, the robots are on the payroll.

The security bots are rented from robotics company Knightscope, for $6.50 per hour. That’s less than minimum wage and around a quarter of what a human security patrol might cost. The robots are passive observers, like a mobile camera that wanders the mall, with added audio detection that can hear car horns honking, people screaming, or glass breaking.

“They’re meant for a support role, observing and reporting only,” Knightscope marketing VP Stacy Stephens told Co.Exist last year. “There’s no offensive measure to them at all.”

That changed on July 7 when little Harwin Chen toddled into the robot and was knocked to the ground. The merciless machine didn’t stop and kept moving towards Harwin, who now lay face down on the ground, according to Palo Alto Online. The robot ran over the boy’s right foot, and his mother managed to move his other foot out of the way. Harwin’s father then grabbed his screaming son, pulling him out of possible further danger.

In a public statement, Knightscope blamed the kid:

A K5 Autonomous Data Machine (Machine Identification Number 13) was patrolling at a local shopping center when, at approximately 2:39pm PDT, a child left the vicinity of his guardians and began running towards the machine. The machine veered to the left to avoid the child, but the child ran backwards directly into the front quarter of the machine, at which point the machine stopped and the child fell on the ground.

The robot itself denies that the collision even happened:

The machine’s sensors registered no vibration alert and the machine motors did not fault as they would when encountering an obstacle. Once the guardians retrieved the child and the path was clear, the machine resumed patrolling. The entire incident lasted a few seconds and a scrape on the child’s leg and a bruise with minor swelling were reported.

Knightscope says that its robots have patrolled over 25,000 miles, in over 35,000 hours, and that this is the first reported incident. Still, the company says that it is “publicly extending a formal apology for the freakish accident,” despite “reach[ing] out to the family on numerous occasions without reply.”

A Robot Security Guard Allegedly Attacked Toddler In A Mall

A mall security robot called Knightscope K5 recently ran over a 16-month-old toddler while on patrol at the Stanford Shopping Centre in Silicon Valley.

While the boy, Harwin Cheng, didn’t suffer major injury from the ordeal, the incident is likely the first of many if robots are going to become part of our daily lives, forcing both the public and the robot’s creators to think about how to handle these situations.

According to a local report by Lilian Kim from ABC7 News, the incident happened on the weekend of 10 July as the Cheng family was walking down a corridor of the shopping centre. Then, out of nowhere, one of the security bots – which were introduced in the mall last year – struck toddler Harwin Cheng from behind, causing him to fall face first on the ground.

Instead of stopping or realising what happened, the bot – measuring in at 1.5 metres (5-foot) tall and weighing 136 kilograms (300 pounds) – ran over the child, scraping his leg and causing his foot to swell.

"The robot hit my son's head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward," Harwin’s mother Tiffany Teng told ABC7. "He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries."

Knightscope Incorporated – the company behind the bot – also issued a statement about what happened:

"A K5 Autonomous Data Machine (Machine Identification Number 13) was patrolling at a local shopping center when, at approximately 2:39pm PDT, a child left the vicinity of his guardians and began running towards the machine. The machine veered to the left to avoid the child, but the child ran backwards directly into the front quarter of the machine, at which point the machine stopped and the child fell on the ground."

The good news is that Cheng didn’t suffer any long-lasting injuries. The bad news is that this sort of thing will likely happen again in the future as bots start interacting more and more with the public. In fact, the Cheng family says that a security guard – who came to help Harwin – told them of a similar incident that happened days before, though it didn’t make it to the press.

For now, the mall has suspended it's robotic staff members until further notice.

The Knigthscope K5 bot is meant to patrol malls and other highly populated areas, alerting human security guards of any sudden changes or loud noises. Why hitting Harwin didn’t trigger these sensors is still a mystery.

"The machine’s sensors registered no vibration alert and the machine motors did not fault as they would when encountering an obstacle," the Knightscope team said. "Once the guardians retrieved the child and the path was clear, the machine resumed patrolling."

According to James Vincent from The Verge, the company is calling the malfunction a 'freakish accident', claiming the bot drove over 40,000 kilometres (25,000 miles) without incident. The K5 team has also reached out to the family, offering them a trip the company’s headquarters so they can apologise in person.

"Our first thoughts are for the family and we are thankful there were no serious injuries," Knightscope chief executive William Santana Li told The Verge. "Our primary mission is to serve the public’s overall safety, and we take any circumstance that would compromise that mission very seriously."

There is so far no word what will happen to the K5 bots that inhabit the shopping centre in the long-term, though this isn’t the only time a robot has behaved badly recently. Last month, a robot known as Promobot IR77 escaped from a lab in Perm, Russia where it stopped in the middle of a local street, causing a traffic jam. Then, even after being reprogrammed twice, continued to try to get away somehow.

While accidents are to be expected with any new piece of technology, the recent injury will hopefully start a discussion over what to do when they happen and who is to blame.

A Mall Security Robot Has Knocked Down And Run Over a Toddler in Silicon Valley

A five-foot tall, 400-pound robot with four surveillance cameras just got fired from its security job. Right before Christmas.

The San Francisco animal welfare non-profit, SF SPCA, rented the 'bot to roam its parking lot and grounds, ostensibly in response to a recent burglary. But to the dismay of neighbors, the SPCA also let the robot patrol the public sidewalk outside the property.

Now, after being sent a deluge of threats, Ars Technica reports the SPCA has pulled the plug on its robot... for now.

The SPCA rented its robot from Knightscope, the security startup that made headlines earlier this year when one of its robots drowned itself in a pool at Washing D.C. mall. While private businesses are certainly free to deploy security robots on private property, these surveillance machines generally aren't allowed to patrol public spaces — like the local sidewalks in San Francisco's Mission district.

The city had already warned the SPCA to keep its security robot off of neighborhood sidewalks.

According to a letter obtained by the San Francisco Business Times, last week the city's Department of Public Works (DFW) told the SF SPCA to keep its robot off of the sidewalks "without a proper approval."

Still, it seems the Knightscope robot could return to its wandering ways if the DFW grants the animal welfare organization a permit to monitor these public walkways. Mashable has contacted the DFW about what conditions a business — or anyone, really — would be allowed to deploy a security robot in a public space, and will update this story upon hearing back.

According to the San Francisco Business Times, the SPCA used the robot to deter a homeless encampment from setting up tents on the sidewalks adjacent to the building and parking lot, where discarded needles and bikes made it all the more difficult to walk. In response, apparently some members of the encampment covered the Knightscope robot in a tarp and lathered its sensors with barbecue sauce.

Knightscope offers four different security models that vary in their mobility, but each contains sound sensors and cameras. The SPCA specifically rented KnightScope's "K5" model, which is "best suited for securing large outdoor spaces," according to the KnightScope website. The K5 is just over five feet tall, weighs in at 400 pounds, and has four cameras.

These relatively new robots are still learning their way, so folks can certainly be wary of the slow-moving, though rather imposing robots. In 2016, a KnightScope K5 robot ran over and injured a toddler at a mall in California.

This 400-pound, sidewalk-roaming security robot just got fired

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