Uber drivers who pay a visit to the company’s inspection lot near Mission Bay in San Francisco will be met with a rather strange sight: a five-foot-tall, white, egg-shaped robot wheeling around the lot, on the look-out for trouble.
The robot is a K5, a 300-pound security robot made by Silicon Valley start-up Knightscope. It’s a stand-in for a human security guard.
The robot has multiple high-definition cameras for 360-degree vision, a thermal camera, a laser rangefinder, a weather sensor, a license-plate recognition camera, four microphones, and person recognition capabilities. Once set up in a geofenced area, “it roams around looking for anomalies,” said Stephens.
Knightscope customers don’t buy the machines. They rent them, usually two at a time, so one can charge its battery while the other patrols. The cost is $7 an hour.
“For the cost of a single-shift security guard, you get a machine that will patrol for 24 hours a day 7 days a week,” said Stephens, citing wages of $25 to $35 hour for a human security guard. Stephens said two large security companies have already signed deals with Knightscope. The robots are coming for our jobs. Sorry humans!
Local Delivery Robots
“Our vision revolves around three zeroes – zero cost, zero waiting time and zero environmental impact. We want to do to local deliveries what Skype did to telecommunications.” said Ahti Heinla, a Skype co-founder and CEO at Starship Technologies.
Capable of carrying the equivalent of two grocery bags, the robots can complete local deliveries within 5-30 minutes from a local hub or retail outlet, for 10-15 times less than the cost of current last-mile delivery alternatives. Customers can choose from a selection of short, precise delivery slots – meaning goods arrive at a time that suits them. During delivery, shoppers can track the robot’s location in real time through a mobile app and on arrival only the app holder is able to unlock the cargo. Integrated navigation and obstacle avoidance software enables the robots to drive autonomously, but they are also overseen by human operators who can step in to ensure safety at all times.
For businesses, Starship’s technology eliminates the largest inefficiency in the delivery chain, the last mile. Instead of expensive and time-consuming door-to-door delivery, retailers can ship the goods in bulk to a local hub, then the robot fleet completes the delivery to the shopper’s door for a fraction of the cost.
Robots Invade London
Zume founder, Alexander Garden, says Zume’s ultimate goal is to have no humans making pizza. “By the end of the year Zume will reach that milestone”.
Amusingly, Zume employees believe their jobs are safe. They are being retrained in HTML.
Yeah right. What is a pizza place going to do with loads of HTML programmers creating web pages?
Mike “Mish” Shedlock