It was a short lived career for the NYPD robocop, otherwise known as the Knightscope K5, that’s no longer servicing the Times Square subway station. Back in September, the security robot entered the force to support the MTA in their mission to improve safety.
Knightscope K5 weighed in at 420 lbs and stood 5-foot-2-inches. Accompanied by an officer at all times, the robot cop was responsible for surveillance while patrolling the station. Yet, as of last week, The New York Times reported that the “New York Police Department robot sat motionless like a sad Wall-E on Friday morning, gathering dust inside an empty storefront within New York City’s busiest subway station.”
According to a department spokesperson, the pilot program has come to an end, hence why Knightscope K5 is being retired. When the initiative was first launched, city officials were set to review the efficiency and effectivity of the robocop once the pilot completed to decide whether it will be expanded upon or not.
The robot is apparently on lease from California-based company, Knightscope. Knightscope K5 was on a seven-month contract with NYC, including three months of preparations, followed by four months of in action testing, detailed The New York Times.
Following the pilot, the robot was in due course to operate alone and without an accompanying officer. Mayor Eric Adams answered in a public safety-related announcement, “the officers are there during the pilot, because we want people to ask questions, to know what is going on. That’s not a permanent. It’s not going to be permanent. These are not officers that’s going to be there, be with the robot forever. It’s during the pilot, we want them there. Once the pilot is done after the period of the officers, now we no longer need the officers.”
Though Mayor Eric Adams claimed the technology will eventually “be part of the fabric of our subway system” back in September, no further direction has been set on what comes next.