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San Antonio Airport in Texas to Deploy 420lb Autonomous Robot to Monitor Door Alarms


San Antonio International Airport is gearing up to enhance its security measures with the addition of an autonomous robot, approved by the city council in a recent vote. The decision passed 7 to 3, greenlights a year-long contract with Knightscope, a California-based company renowned for its development of autonomous security solutions, to lease its K5 robot for $21,000.

The autonomous robot to be deployed weighs 420 pounds and stands 5 feet 4 inches tall. As per Knightscope, the K5 autonomous robot is designed for outdoor use as the company installed features for such applications. Some of the said features are autonomous recharging capabilities, 360-degree video streaming, people detection during specified hours, thermal anomaly detection, and license plate recognition. Most, if not all, features are surely helpful for tightening up airport security.

San Antonio Airport in Texas to Deploy 420lb Autonomous Robot to Monitor Door Alarms

However, Jesus Saenz, the city’s director of airports, highlighted that the K5’s intended role in airport security is to respond to door alarms. “Daily, we have door alarms that are opened inappropriately, inaccurately, or by accident, and it requires a response, based on the federal regulations that we have to adhere to, to maintain an overall security posture of the airport,” Saenz explained.

Upon activation, the K5 will capture images of individuals triggering alarms and relay the information to the airport’s command center for assessment. Saenz emphasized that the robot’s deployment is strictly for response purposes and not surveillance of individuals.

Despite the approval, concerns were raised by some council members regarding the potential for surveillance and the displacement of airport staff. Jalen McKee-Rodriguez expressed apprehensions about the robot’s data collection capabilities, while Teri Castillo sought assurances that it would not replace human employees. Saenz reassured that the K5 would complement existing security measures and not replace personnel.

Nonetheless, as San Antonio prepares to welcome the K5 autonomous robot into its airport, the move underscores a growing trend toward the integration of autonomous technologies in public safety efforts.

Sota Takahashi

Sota Takahashi is a Japanese-born electrical engineer. At the age of 18, he moved to Seattle and completed his Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Washington, Seattle. Being a fan of all things tech, he channels his geeky side through this website, and with his wife Linda, shares knowledge about robot pets and how they can be lifelong and advantageous companions for both children and the elderly.

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