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
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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