NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The security force of the future is already patrolling several neighborhoods in the Tri-State Area.

The robotic protectors can see what you’re doing and even talk back to you, but the machines created by a New Yorker have prompted serious privacy concerns, CBS2’s Clark Fouraker reported Tuesday.

One of the models, named “Rosie,” uses the same technology as a self-driving car to patrol the sidewalks at the Lefrak City Apartments in Queens.

Rosie the robot on patrol in the Lefrak City Apartments in Queens. (credit: CBS2)

“This is a crazy combination of artificial intelligence, self-driving autonomous technology, robotics, and analytics in something that’s actually useful for society,” said Knightscope CEO William Santana Li.



Li’s company has built three robot models in the United States, and is introducing them to customers inside a new showroom at 47th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.

They’re also deployed at LaGuardia Airport.

“I thought it was pretty cool, but I didn’t even know what it really was,” Connie Ruan said. “I thought it was just patrolling around.”

Each robot has five cameras, four of which help the robot see things. The other is used to get thermal imaging data. All of the information gathered goes to an internet-based portal that helps local security forces on the ground.

“The law enforcement apparatus is not going to scale,” Li said. “You can’t keep adding more people, and we’re going to add more people and more officers. It’s not going to happen. Society literally can’t afford this.”

The robots are able to observe people walking on the sidewalks, record license plate numbers, detect the heat in objects, and see which cellphone serial numbers are within a designated patrolling area.

Knightscope said the data is secured and is only seen by the security agency controlling the robot. They’re able to stop it and tell it what to look for, but it doesn’t have a joystick that would allow it to follow or target a specific person.

Of course, privacy concerns abound.

“In the wrong hands, people could like… reboot it or something,” said Far Rockaway resident Jose Rodriguez.

Li grew up in Queens and said the 9/11 attacks began his thinking about how to improve security across the country.

“I’m really still upset about it, so I’m dedicating our lives to improving the safety of our country,” he said.

The company said it costs between $6 and $12 an hour for a new robot to hit the streets. They’re currently deployed in 16 states to come alongside local security teams to help reduce crime.

Comments (50)
  1. Eli Toro says:

    This is just part of the rapidly growing problem of NOT INTERVENING. Large box stores no longer protect their goods and products, they just use video to possibly prosecute later. Now NY city locales are doing the same. THIS IS NOT POLICING. These devices WILL NOT make you safer.

  2. Mike Klos says:

    Throw a couple tires over it, light on fire.

    1. Danzig Panzer says:

      It’s a short vibrator on wheels
      If that F–king came around me I’d kick the bytch over in a snap
      Is it bat proof?

  3. It’s only there to help in the protection of the rich people sections of NYC….Backlash doesn’t matter to “them” anymore…Soon those dogs Boston Dynamics makes will be strolling through hallways and data mining EVERYTHING! Welcome to Bladerunner beta testing.

  4. John Smith says:

    This just in Robot Security Patrol stolen.

  5. Anna Schneider says:

    Just a matter of time till these are armed. Heating up the water bit by bit.

  6. Roy LeMeur says:

    Danger Will Robinson! Danger!

  7. Vox Veritas says:

    Talking, rolling trash cans…

  8. This is wrong on so many levels. The camera with video is legit, but the thermal imaging and mobile phone ID’ing is definitely a privacy violation.

  9. John Jupiter says:

    This will last about 30 seconds in C——d Town,,,aka Chicago, Detroit. The boys will steal it and sell for scrap money

  10. Joe Daigle says:

    Wait till the thugs get there. It’ll be dealing crack in no time at all. And some metoo will claim that’s her babydaddy. I’d keep them in good neighborhoods.

  11. James Mendelsohn says:

    Can’t wait till people start saying the robots are racists.

  12. Charlie Harper says:

    Probably programmed to remove ‘biological infestations’.

  13. D.M. Lanz says:

    Too easy to duplicate the shell, motor and guidance system. Bad guys could drive it into a crowd for nefarious purposes.

  14. Bill Lawrence says:

    LOL. They’ve invented Protectrons. Hope they are programmed to say “Engaging hostile target. Law abiding citizens please leave the area”.

  15. Compton McDaniels says:

    You can defeat them with a garbage bag.

    1. Set one of these rolling cans in a slum or gang are and I will guarantee this “Robot” will be either sold for scrap or end up in a dumpster within 10 minutes riddled with bullet holes. Bang! Ping, Bang! Ping! (Robot -Danger Clear the blurp! area!) Bang Ping! Garage bag over the Robot. Danger!

  16. Luis Martinez says:

    One good kick and it’s all over. not to mention graffiti all over the lenses/sensors.

  17. Melissa Lipnutz says:

    No privacy concerns as it’s operates in public places. Besides, it’s wandering around after escaping from Huma’s apartment.

  18. Chris Daly says:

    I really hope someone hacks these to say “Exterminate!”

  19. Tom Truther says:

    Is that a pee hole on top??

  20. David Broome says:

    “The data is secure” That right there is a complete lie and they know it, no data is secure, least of all in the possession of big brother.
    And given it is easy to hack into a webcam I can’t see these walking webcams being much different.

    1. @David Broome

      There are definitely ways to secure data. The best security seems to be block chain security which actually distributes data in a manner that the only way someone could expose the data is if they took ownership of over 50% of the nodes in the network. That being said there are new encryption models that will secure data from anyone except from organizations that have a tremendous amount of processing power.

    2. I had the same thought…just saying ‘the data is secure’ is a ludicrous comment in 2018.

  21. Mark Oppelt says:

    Bring out ED209

  22. Alfred Putin says:

    Resembles a Dalek

    1. Desmond McGlynn says:


  23. David Ivey says:

    They have them at the Arco Arena in Sacramento too, although they still have normal security guards as well.

  24. Bill Loyal says:

    Ahhh new york, leading the way in police state creepy. Just another reason to never visit the city ever.

  25. Dave Ferro says:

    Model number: R4Defect….

  26. Mary Martinez says:

    I buy almost everything except food and clothing from online auctions most people aren’t aware of the almost I unbelievable deals that they can get from online auction sites the site that has the best deals is >>►…℠¬……..—–.

    I checked with the BBB and was told that it is all legit. How they can sell gift cards, laptops, cameras, and all kinds of goodies that we all want for 50-90% off, I don’t know I do know that I bought my son an ipad there for less than $150 and my husband a $250 Loews gift

    cards for $99. Why would I even think about shopping anyþlace else?

  27. Douglas Lindsey says:

    We have to spend all of this money on Robot Security because Democrats don’t know have to behave themselves and follow the law.

  28. Wally Lind says:

    The cell phone thing could become an issue but, other than that, it’s just fine.

  29. Jonathan Miller says:

    “Isn’t that the same creepy robot that was weirdly following women around in the airport taking crotch and butt videos?”

    That is not a Robot! It was Joe Biden. Creepy Joe follows people like Barack Hussein around and feels up any little girls concealing contraband along the way…

    1. Francisco Peña says:

      open it up and Clinton will pop out

    2. Desmond McGlynn says:

      Noooo, Joooeee!

  30. Nick Kormendi says:

    “Kill! Crush! Destroy!”

  31. adozengifts says:

    Strange how Star Wars knew the future. These things are disastrous to humans

  32. Gary Thompson says:

    ““In the wrong hands, people could like… reboot it or something,” said Far Rockaway resident Jose Rodriguez.”
    Well, that’s a like…. stupid comment or something.

  33. Daniel NA says:

    How well does it see with a sheet thrown over it?

  34. John Wilson says:

    Right. Right.

    That’ll work!!

  35. Marie Evans says:

    This is a huge lawsuit waiting to happen. I don’t give up my rights to privacy for a small amount of security. These people are taking us straight into Socialism. I’m suppose to trust agencies when information about me? This is worse than communism. If you want protection start using your constitutional right and bare arms.

    1. Even though NYC has among the toughest gun laws in the nation, even in NY you can still bare your arms, or your legs, or your head, or your feet for that matter.

    2. Socialism? Clearly you don’t know the meaning of the words you are using.

  36. Rick Van Jager says:

    If its less than 300 lbs, looks like a great thing to steal and sell for parts

  37. James Strickland says:

    And how long will it take for a person not happy to knock them over?

  38. Rachel Howard says:

    Looks like a big suppository

  39. Andrew Taylor says:

    Isn’t that the same creepy robot that was weirdly following women around in the airport taking crotch and butt videos?

  40. Robert Lambert says:

    Exterminate!!! The resemblance to a dalek is funny.

    1. Dave Hilling says:

      My first thought too…lol Kill the doctorrrr!

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