A Knightscope K5 security robot like this one started its job at Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort Friday.
Published July 1, 2018
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The newest security guard at Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort never needs a coffee break.
Looking something like a badass version of R2D2, this real-life robocop started his? her? its assignment today, helping the casino’s security team patrol the 170,000 square-foot property.
Stacy Stephens, co-founder and executive vice president of Knightscope, the California-based company that created the bot, was reluctant to reveal the details of how it works, lest the bad guys think they can figure out a way to outsmart it. Basically, it’s an information-gathering device.
“I want to emphasize that it does not replace a human security officer,” said Stephens, a former policeman. “We work on enhancing, not replacing, humans. Even though the robots are very, very capable of doing certain things, there’s no way they can replace a person.”
Basically, Stephens said, the bot “enhances an officer’s situational awareness so he can make smarter, faster, safer decisions.”
Stephens said the robot can be thought of as an extension of a smartphone, but one that can travel on its own.
“When I was a policeman, if I wanted to carry technology, the only real estate I have available is my body,” he explained. “If I could increase the amount of intelligence I could gather without having to carry around a lot more stuff — and police have a lot to carry already — it makes me that much more effective.”
True, but isn’t technology only as effective as the humans who use it?
Yes, says Stephens, and this bot is particularly user-friendly. It only takes a couple of hours to train a security team how to use the robot, and tech support is available from Knightscope “24/7, 365.”
The only question left to resolve is what the human guards will call their new colleague. “I understand Twin Arrows is having a naming contest among their employees,” Stephens said.
We’ll unveil the tin man’s name, and find out how it’s doing, in the next edition of the Navajo Times. Our suggestion: Chip.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.