NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: The U.S. is a global military superpower, providing its 2.4 million active and reserve troops with every conceivable capability through a massive military industrial complex. Big budgets and copious defense contractors design and build just about anything a soldier could possibly need. To protect our nation and our troops, that’s exactly the way it should be. However, the same commitment, resources and support aren’t afforded to the nation’s 2+ million law enforcement and security personnel, a dedicated and highly skilled group of professionals often left with little more than the technical equivalent of a #2 pencil and notepad to protect 330+ million Americans. Knightscope, Inc. (Profile) is on a crusade to deliver much-needed technological innovation to the law enforcement and security markets to more efficiently and effectively protect the people and property of America from coast-to-coast. The company’s unique combination of self-driving autonomous technology, robotics and A.I. provides law enforcement and security professionals smart eyes & ears. This technological innovation allows humans make decisions faster, smarter and safer while machines do the monotonous, computationally heavy and often dangerous work. Knightscope’s robotic expertise incorporates the best attributes from varied industries, such as the adeptness of defense contractors Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT) and General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE: GD), as well as the autonomous aptitude of Velodyne Lidar Inc. (NASDAQ: VLDR) and the abilities of vehicle electrification being led by Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA).
- At any given time, approximately 500,000 law enforcement, security officers are protecting 331 million Americans.
- Knightscope’s lineup of fully autonomous security robots (ASR) are disrupting the industry.
- Knightscope’s upcoming K7 ASR is a fully autonomous four-wheel, multi-terrain vehicle sentry.
- Knightscope ASRs have potential to reduce the $2 trillion in economic damage resulting from crimes.
Time to Level the Field
The United States spent well over $700 billion on its military in 2019 alone. Comparatively, the nation collectively spends only about $100 billion annually on policing and another $80 billion more on incarcerations. The stark difference between our nation’s commitment to military readiness and police protection is magnified by the fragmented structure of law enforcement with more than 19,000 law enforcement agencies and 8,000-plus private security firms. Moreover, the absence of an overarching technology strategy for law enforcement doesn’t do much to encourage cohesiveness in operations, completely opposite of how the military works.
The simple numbers beyond “dollars spent” further expose the challenges of police and security professionals. Using a round number, 2 million security personnel working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year means that at any given moment there are only about 500,000 police and security officers trying to protect 331 million people across 50 states (2.3 billion acres of land). These dedicated professionals flat-out need help across multiple verticals to do their jobs effectively.
Knightscope, Inc. and its portfolio of fully Autonomous Security Robots (ASRs) are the assistance police and security agencies desperately seek. Knightscope’s autonomous technology platform is a fusion of robotics, data collection, predictive analytics and collaborative social engagement all utilized to predict and prevent crime. This technology means that humans don’t have to perform monotonous patrol posts anymore or put themselves in harm’s way on recon duties. Instead, they can use their skills in other areas while being best positioned to react if necessary to actionable data that is constantly transferred in real time by Knightscope’s ASRs.
The company’s product lineup includes the K1 stationary robot, K3 and K5 mobile sentries for indoor and outdoor use, respectively, and the upcoming K7 multi-terrain ASR that will redefine the physical boundaries an autonomous robot can patrol. Communication with the ASRs, including accessing the 90 terabytes of data each robot can collect, is performed from a single access point, the Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC).
Reducing Crime’s Steep Economic Damage
As aforementioned, about 500,000 people are trying to protect 331 million people all day every day. That’s 1 officer for every 662 people. Keep in mind that many of those officers also cannot be on patrol every moment since they are attending to crimes — a lot of them. A violent crime occurred every four seconds in 2019 and a property crime every 25 seconds. Even more horrifying, in 2019 the U.S. suffered a mass shooting every day on average. Could ASRs have averted any of these crimes? Possibly. Case studies certainly show that Knightscope has been effective in reducing crime where they are deployed.
The cost of crime is a hidden tax that gets paid by the people and businesses in blood, tears and treasure. The actual figures is a topic for debate and subject to multiple variables. In 2006, estimates showed $2 trillion in economic impact across the country. New figures show cybercrime alone will cost the global economy $10.5 trillion each year by 2025. Data also shows that 2020 was a big year for violent crimes amid the pandemic, with homicides surging 30% from 2019.
Again, this dismal condition begs for change and the assistance of autonomous robots such as Knightscope’s, which provide eyes and ears in high-crime areas. This rampant violence was the primary motivator (along with the 9/11 attacks on his hometown of NYC) that led to Knightscope CEO and founder William Santana Li to devote his life to developing the technology to help cut into crime rates and economic costs.
AI and Robotics
Since the first police department was formed in Boston in 1838, police have relied upon hunches, clues, experiences and proven policing methodologies to fight and solve crimes. It’s a new world in 2021. Data analytics plays an increasingly important role in crime prevention and has led to new predictive policing technologies.
Knightscope is a leader in predictive policing technologies, the science of using big data, analytics and computational power to rapidly make informed decisions about potential crimes. Packed into Knightscope ASRs are powerful computers, video cameras and more to scan, record and process data at lightning speed. Technologies include facial and license plate recognition, MAC address tracking, heat-sensing capabilities (which have already been used to prevent a large fire already) and more. In addition Knightscope’s R&D team intends to stay at the forefront of combining artificial intelligence and robotics for security applications.
Just like with marketing technology, the bigger the database, the more predictive and reliable the technology can be. Knightscope’s robots create more than 90 terabytes of data (per annum per machine) and are part-and-parcel to advancing the technology. That capacity gains even more significance considering the company’s robots are the only of their type operating from coast-to-coast at multiple locations such as parks, warehouses, hospitals, colleges and more, where they collect a diverse data set to add to the library.
Autonomous Driving and Electrification
Artificial intelligence and robotics are integral to predictive policing. The policing transformation is undergoing another major upgrade with autonomous driving and electrification of vehicles. Coming from the auto industry, Knightscope’s Santana Li was keenly attuned to the emergence of autonomous vehicles years ago but savvy enough to know it wasn’t going to be introduced, much less become mainstream, for decades.
The more prescient pathway to incorporate the technology was robots, which is exactly what Knightscope did with its ASRs, which essentially are autonomous vehicles, just not the shape people are used to seeing with cars. The basic technology is the same though. As it happens, Knightscope’s upcoming four-wheel vehicle, K7, is more car-like at nearly 10 feet long, 6 feet tall and 770 pounds. The vehicle is ideally suited for use at airports, prisons, farms, large corporate campuses, federal government facilities, solar farms, power utility substations, wind farms and more.
Knightscope is at the cutting edge of technology with its ASRs and following the path of the rest of the world by ditching fossil fuels in favor of electrified vehicles. The ASRs one-up an EV insomuch as they monitor their own battery levels and automatically return to a charging station to recharge without any human intervention. A typical ASR patrol cycle lasts as long as two and a half hours, while a charge is completed in just 20 minutes or less. While the ASR is charging, the robot actually remains diligent and fully operational, sans the movement.
The Amalgamation of Technology
Committed to public safety, Knightscope operates at the intersection of multiple technologies. However, the company is not alone in developing leading technologies where billions of dollars are being invested annually into moving society towards a safer, more advanced 22nc century, including defense, autonomous vehicles and electric-powered cars and trucks.
Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT) has published “5 Trends Shaping the Future of Defense,” including directed energy lasers and hypersonic weapons that they admittedly say, “sounds like science fiction.” Number one on the list is artificial intelligence and number two is big data for predictive analytics to deter threats and automate dangerous tasks. The list is rounded out by human-machine collaboration and an “X factor” is people innovating upcoming creative solutions to make the world a safer place.
General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE: GD) has a portfolio covering a broad spectrum of some of the world’s most technologically advanced jets, combat vehicles, command and control systems and nuclear submarines that it develops and offers through five business groups. In addition to some of the most sophisticated technology powering and controlling its vehicles, the company is deeply rooted in data center optimization and modernization, including using big data analytics and cloud virtualization technologies and pushing the limits of AI for better decisions and faster actions.
Velodyne Lidar Inc. (NASDAQ: VLDR) is a global leader in autonomous vehicles with a product portfolio delivering real-time perception data that enables safe and reliable operation for autonomous driving and advance vehicle safety at highway speeds. Velodyne is the go-to brand for countless companies in the space, including self-driving startup ThorDrive, which selected Velodyne lidar sensors for its pilot programs, such as a groundbreaking partnership with Hassett ACE Hardware for autonomous driving delivery vehicles.
Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) has nearly become synonymous with the electrification of vehicles. CEO Elon Musk is known to make bold predictions and he didn’t disappoint at a quarterly earnings call in January. During the call, Musk expounded on the company’s FSD (full self-driving) system, saying that by the end of 2021 Tesla’s FSD will be capable of Level 5 autonomy. Level 5 is the pinnacle of autonomous vehicles, meaning they do not require any human attention to the point that they don’t need steering wheels, accelerator or brake pedals.
The meshing of these technologies speaks to the new opportunities that will continue to arise in multiple sectors, including the areas of law enforcement as well as property protection and public safety. Just how far it goes is only limited by imagination, but one can bet that many standard operating procedures are going to be reshaped in the coming years and decades.
For more information about Knightscope, Inc., please visit Knightscope, Inc.
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