The K5 Autonomous Data Machine: Revolutionizing crime prevention


Developed by Silicon Valley start-up Knightscope Inc., the K5 Autonomous Data Machine is a robot designed to revolutionize private security and to enhance the crime prevention efforts of local law enforcement. With K5 Betas rolling out this year, Knightscope advertises its innovative machine will help reduce crime in neighborhoods, ensure greater safety in high traffic public spaces, and increase the security of private property.

Although the K5’s pill-shaped, triangular exterior lends itself to an easy R2-D2 comparison, the technology and programming driving the K5 is nothing less than spectacular. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the K5 is its emphasis on integrating hardware, software, and social engagement to capture multiple sources of data that can be accessed and monitored remotely. During a time when the public is increasingly weary of unwarranted digital surveillance, Knightscope says it’s dedicated to transparency, going so far as encouraging the public to participate in the K5’s crime prevention services through crowd sourcing.


The K5 is built around three core technologies: the machine OS, the sensor OS, and the KSOC (Knightscope Security Operations Center).

The machine OS

The machine OS boasts “autonomous and semi-autonomous operation, machine learning and machine-to-machine communications.” Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that analyzes the data it collects, adjusting its behavior as conditions change. The K5 will be one of the first autonomous robots designed for commercial use that will incorporate this technology. Put simply, the K5’s OS is capable of independent decision-making in real-time.

The sensor OS

The K5 is fitted with an array of sensors allowing the robot to interact with and fully survey its environment, collecting information which can then be pushed to live security personnel when appropriate. The K5’s optical sensors are also capable of character recognition, taking “scanned images of alphanumeric text” and comparing them instantly against defined “Hot Sheet” data lists. Making its way around a school or corporate campus parking lot, the K5 will be able to check for unregistered license plates, and alert security personnel the moment a suspicious vehicle is identified.


Other features include cameras, mics, and sensors to capture video (in no or low light conditions), record ambient audio, and measure particulates in the air. And if that weren’t enough, the K5 offers an unprecedented view of its surroundings, using lasers to map its environment in 3D, sonar waves to determine the speed, range, and altitude of moving objects, and thermal imaging to detect subtle changes in temperature.


Given the comprehensive nature of the K5’s data collection capabilities, it’s only appropriate that the security operations center that comes with the K5 is equally robust.  The KSOC’s graphical user interface is remotely operated, offering access to all of the K5’s sensor readings in real-time. Although the K5 has the ability to function autonomously, the system’s GUI allows operators to engage directly with the K5’s environment, planning missions and coordinating the transfer of information up the chain of command as needed.


Predictive Analytics

An exciting feature of the K5 is the OS’s predicative analytics engine, which combines data gathered from the system’s on-board sensors, mics, and cameras with data derived from public and private social feeds. The K5’s algorithm analyzes all of these data sources and sends alerts and notices the moment any disruptions to established patterns are observed. With crowd sourced human input and predictive analytics, the K5 blends the calculating level-headedness of robotics with the social intelligence of humans. Together, the potential for tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings can either be diminished, or in the least the loss of life minimized given the K5’s potential for rapid detection and response.

Maintenance and Cost

Knightscope Inc. plans to offer the K5 as a packaged service. All maintenance costs will be covered, and a charging station, along with the KSOC, will be provided free of charge. At a flat rate of $1000 per shift per month (or less than $6.25 per hour), the K5 will be an enticing and financially feasible complement to private and public security departments.


Historians agree the world has always been complex, the only constant being change, and the rest a cacophonous confluence of social and geopolitical jockeying over land, resources, and power. Despite the K5’s impressive specs and Knightscope’s insistence its product will drastically reduce crime, there will always be individuals and groups who with equal ingenuity will find ever novel ways to circumvent, disrupt, and subvert even the most advanced security measures.

The true impact of technology should be measured by the extent to which they expand our freedoms and facilitate the completion of tasks in a manner that enriches and simplifies our lives. Only time will tell if the K5, and other similarly themed technologies, will provide the security and safety we all desire without compromising our privacy and putting too much social control in the hands of fewer individuals and agencies.

Call to Action

As with any company seeking to revolutionize an industry, funding remains an important catalyst for innovation. If you are an investor looking to participate in a multi-billion dollar opportunity, then contact Knightscope Inc. through AngelList at



About Author

Kristian strives to enlighten and entertain readers. In addition to his teaching and editorial responsibilities, he is working on a science-fiction novel that promises not to include exoskeleton suits and anemic aliens floating in mysterious vats of green-tinted goop.