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Thread: Robots are being used to deter homeless people from setting up camp in San Francisco

  1. #1

    Robots are being used to deter homeless people from setting up camp in San Francisco

    In San Francisco, autonomous crime-fighting robots that are used to patrol parking lots, sports arenas, and tech company campuses are now being deployed to keep away homeless people.

    The San Francisco Business Times reported last week that the San Francisco SPCA, an animal advocacy and pet adoption group, put a security robot to work outside its facilities in the gentrifying Mission neighborhood. The robot's presence is meant to deter homeless people from setting up camps along the sidewalks.

    Last week, the City of San Francisco ordered the SF SPCA to keep its robot off the streets or be fined up to $1,000 per day for operating on sidewalks without a permit, according to the Business Times.

    Krista Maloney, media relations manager for the SF SPCA, told Business Insider that staff wasn't able to safely use the sidewalks at times because of the encampments. Maloney added that since the SPCA started guarding its facilities with the robot known as K9 a month ago, the homeless encampments have dwindled and there have been fewer car break-ins.

    K9 is part of a crime-fighting robot fleet manufactured and managed by startup Knightscope in Mountain View, California. The company's robots don't fight humans; they use equipment like lasers, cameras, a thermal sensor, and GPS to detect criminal activity and alert the authorities.

    Their intent is to give human security guards "superhuman" eyes and ears, according to Bill Santana Li, CEO of Knightscope, who spoke with Business Insider earlier this year.

    Knightscope rents out the robots for $7 an hour less than a security guard's hourly wage. The company has over 19 clients in five US states. Most customers, including Microsoft, Uber, and Juniper Networks, put the robots to work patrolling parking lots and office buildings.

    Preventing crime is part of the pitch that Knightscope makes to prospective customers. (Increased police presence can reduce crime, though this is not always the case.)

    "If I put a marked law enforcement vehicle in front of your home or your office, criminal behavior changes," Li told Business Insider earlier this year.

    The K9 robot circling the SF SPCA has drawn mixed responses. Within the first week of the robot's deployment, some people who were setting up a homeless encampment nearby allegedly "put a tarp over it, knocked it over, and put barbecue sauce on all the sensors," according to Jennifer Scarlett, president of the SF SPCA. A Twitter user reported seeing feces smeared on the robot.

    Some people took to Twitter to express their disappointment in the group.

    Others commended the robot for cleaning up their streets.

    A spokesperson for Knightscope declined to comment.

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  3. #2
    Do they work on Injuns?
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
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  4. #3
    The future is fail.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    The future is fail.
    Security robot bullied and forced off the street in San Francisco

    A robot patrolling a street in San Francisco to ward off homeless people has been removed after complaints from locals, who also knocked it over and smeared it with feces.

    The Knightscope K5 security robot was deployed by the San Francisco branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to deter homeless people from sleeping and loitering near its building.

    But it was forced to take away the 400-pound machine as it was operating in the public realm without a permit, and threatened with a $1,000-a-day (745) fine.
    Reports claimed that a group doused its sensors with barbecue sauce, knocked it over and veiled it with a tarp. One Twitter user claimed they saw feces smeared on its shell, while another described the robot's use as "shameful".

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