In the heart of Manhattan’s Times Square, the NYPD has welcomed its newest team member, a robust and tireless robot weighing in at 400 pounds. This dedicated member works through the midnight hours, drawing no complaints and earning a modest wage of $9 an hour, much to the satisfaction of transit commanders.
Meet K5, a vigilant robot entrusted with patrolling the Times Square subway station during the overnight shift. Outfitted with an array of cameras and two-way communication capabilities, K5’s primary mission is to deter criminal activities and capture any unlawful incidents as they unfold.
What’s more, it comes equipped with a panic button that allows subway riders to swiftly alert patrol officers if the need arises. NYPD Transit Division Chief Michael Kemper expressed, “We are enhancing the subway system’s existing costly camera network by introducing K5, a mobile device that not only augments it but also connects subway passengers to immediate assistance when necessary.”
With the daily subway ridership surpassing four million—the highest since the pandemic began—crime underground has been on the decline. However, violent assaults remain over 50% higher than they were four years ago. In response to the evolving landscape, the NYPD is embracing a range of robotic technologies, including dogs, drones, tracking devices, and now, robots like K5.
Leased from its manufacturer, Knightscope, K5 boasts facial recognition capabilities and listening devices, though Mayor Eric Adams has assured the public that neither feature will be activated.
He emphasized, “While it is our responsibility to leverage cutting-edge technological advancements for the safety of New Yorkers, we must do so prudently and without invading privacy.” For the initial two months of the pilot program, K5 will be accompanied by a uniformed police officer, primarily to address inquiries from curious commuters. Following this phase, a solo deployment is scheduled, just in time for the bustling holiday tourist season.