Incident 68: Security Robot Drowns Itself in a Fountain

Description: A Knightscope K5 security robot ran itself into a water fountain in Washington, DC.


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Alleged: Knightscope developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed Knightscope.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
Report Count
Incident Date
Sean McGregor

CSETv0 Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Full Description

A robot at an office building in Washington, DC ran itself into a water fountain. The robot, named Knightscope K5, was developed as a security robot that uses facial recognition and a variety of sensors to detect criminals. The reasons the robot fell into the fountain are unclear.

Short Description

A Knightscope K5 security robot ran itself into a water fountain in Washington, DC.



Harm Type

Harm to physical property

AI System Description

The robot developed by the start-up contains autonomous driving and facial recognition abilities

System Developer


Sector of Deployment

Administrative and support service activities

Relevant AI functions

Perception, Cognition, Action

AI Techniques

Facial recognition, environmental sensing

AI Applications

autonomous driving, self-driving vehicle


Washington, D.C.

Named Entities

Knightscope, Knightscope K5, Mountain View, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Stanford Shopping Center

Technology Purveyor


Beginning Date


Ending Date


Near Miss




Lives Lost


Data Inputs


GMF Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Known AI Goal

Autonomous Drones

Potential AI Technology

Image Segmentation

Potential AI Technical Failure

Generalization Failure

CSETv1 Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Harm Distribution Basis


Sector of Deployment

administrative and support service activities

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From a Wall Street Journal report on Friday:

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The roving robot — a four-foot tall oblong affair developed by …

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The rise of the robots has been (slightly) dampened.

An autonomous 300-pound crime-fighting android tasked with patrolling an office building in Washington, D.C., met an untimely end on Monday — after it tumbled into a water fountain.


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The automation revolution, where most of our jobs are replaced by robots and we spend the rest of our days floating around on rubber rings sipping piña coladas, has hit a snag: a Knightscope K5 security bot appears to have fallen down som…

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The Knightscope K5 security robot’s job is to be on the look out for crime.

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Our D.C. office building…

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A Knightscope robot in better days. Knightscope

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CLOSE A security robot drowned in a Georgetown fountain. Time

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The robot apocalypse is clearly a ways off if news out of Washington, D.C., this week is anything to go by. A security robot working at the Washington Harbour complex in Georgetown met a nasty end when it toppled into a water feature …

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A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.

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