In a development worthy of HBO’s show about a bunch of nerds trying to make it in Palo Alto called Silicon Valley, a robot developed by a startup company called Knightscope deployed as a security guard in Washington D.C. drowned in a shallow fountain.
The bots, are equipped with face-recognition systems, high-definition video capture, infrared and ultrasonic sensors. The unfortunate one, nicknamed Steve – an acronym for Security Technology Enhancement Vehicle – had spent a little over a week at the Washington job before falling into the water basin.
According to the Washington Post, the model called K5 was doing its patrol duty when it fell into the decorative water feature outside Georgetown’s Washington Harbour office and retail complex. Knightscope, one of the many startup companies in the southern San Francisco Bay area has marketed the robot’s supposed superiority over human guards with the phrase “it never gets bored of what it does”; unsurprisingly, after this bizarre incident, Twitter is showing little sympathy to the Californian firm.
Our D.C. office building got a security robot. It drowned itself.
We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots. pic.twitter.com/rGLTAWZMjn
— Bilal Farooqui (@bilalfarooqui) July 17, 2017
Meanwhile, Knightoscope have tried to take the incident on their chin with a joking tweet, quoting the robot saying, “I heard humans can take a dip in the water in this heat, but robots cannot.” The company is still investigating the incident, although no foul play is suspected; they have already announced that a replacement will be delivered to Washington at no extra cost.
1987: RoboCop single handedly saved Detroit.
2017: A security robot at a shopping mall has drowned himself because he couldn’t be arsed. pic.twitter.com/yffPPTfObD
— Stephen Patten (@StevePatten) July 18, 2017
Stacy Dean Stephens, who works in marketing and sales at Knightscope, told Cnet it was an ‘isolated incident’ for the K5 robot and that “no people were harmed or involved in any way”.
It’s ok security robot. It’s a stressful job, we’ve all been there. pic.twitter.com/LQbnntbCRm
— ✨💖 Sparkle Ops 💖✨ (@SparkleOps) July 17, 2017
Some would disagree, however, with the BBC reporting that this is not the first accident involving Knightscope’s patrolling robots: last year, a 16-month-old toddler was run over by one of the autonomous devices in a Silicon Valley shopping center and earlier this year, an intoxicated Californian man was arrested after attacking one. According to Knightscope, the man later said he wanted to “test” the machine.