Robot to help patrol Times Square subway station

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Robot to help NYPD patrol Times Square subway station
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The K5 robot will operate during overnight hours and be equipped with multiple cameras and two-way communication. N.J. Burkett has more.

TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- The newest member of the NYPD weighs 400 pounds, gets paid $9 an hour and works midnights without a single complaint. And transit commanders couldn't be happier.

K5 is a robot that will patrol the Times Square subway station in the overnight hours. It's equipped with multiple cameras and two-way communication and intended to deter crime and to capture crimes in progress.

And it is equipped with a panic button that riders can use to alert patrol officers.

"We are taking an expensive camera network in the subway system and adding to it- supplementing to it, if you will- and adding a series of cameras that not only moves but a device that can connect subway riders to immediate assistance if the need arises," said NYPD Transit Division Chief Michael Kemper.

The number of daily subway riders now tops four million--the highest number since the pandemic.

Crime underground is trending lower but the number of violent assaults is still more than 50% higher than it was four years ago.

The NYPD is ramping up its use of robotics-- from dogs to drones to tracking devices and now robots.

K5 is being leased from Knightscope, its manufacturer. It has facial recognition capabilities and listening devices-but Mayor Eric Adams insists neither will be activated.

"While I believe it is our duty to utilize state-of-the-art technology advancements to help keep New Yorkers safe, I believe we must do it wisely and not intrusively," Adams said.

K5 will be accompanied by a uniformed police officer for the first two months of a pilot program-mainly to answer questions from curious riders.

A solo deployment is planned just in time for the holiday tourist season.


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