A fleet of crime-fighting robots will soon patrol malls in New York — pushing the buttons of Big Apple security guards who fear they’ll be replaced.
The firm Knightscope plans to roll out the rent-a-cop on wheels at shopping centers, college campuses and sports arenas in 16 cities, including ones in the Empire State, by the end of the year, FOX Business reported Monday.
“We think that given the real-time information that we are gathering as well as historical information, it is very plausible that we can make an impact on crime and a positive impact on the economy,” the company’s co-founder, Stacy Dean Stephens, told the station.
The five-foot-tall R2D2-style automatons weigh 300 pounds, come equipped with multiple sensors and a 360-degree cameras along with license plate recognition technology, Stephens said.
But there’s one thing they don’t have — charming personalities, Manhattan security guards slammed.
“Shoppers like to interact with people and socialize. People come over to me and tell me how nice I am. Robots aren’t comforting. Can the robot find a lost child?” said Michelle, 56-year-old security guard who works at the Manhattan Mall.
She added, “[If they get popular], I won’t have a job.”
The firm launched the gadget in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre in 2013, in part to prevent active shooters at public places, he said.
“When the shootings took place in Sandy Hook, there were a lot of studies done on active shooting situations and one of those studies found that if we got one of those officers in that school 60 seconds sooner, we could have saved as many as 12 lives,” said Stephens, who is also a former Texas police officer.
“We wanted to figure out how you solve that problem and the only way to solve that problem is through actionable intelligence and the only way to get that form of intelligence is through eyes and ears,” he said.
He said goal is not take jobs away from human security guards — but it the robot mall cops cost less per hour to “hire.”
The bots, which can purchased via subscription, cost about $7 an hour for 24/7 surveillance, according to the firm. They come two models, one for indoor and one for outdoor use.
Stephens hopes the robocops eventually cut America’s trillion-dollar crime problem in half, he told FOX.
“We already have over 1,000 investors who’ve invested in us,” Stephens said.
The robots are already up and running at shopping centers in the Silicon Valley.
But other rent-a-cops weren’t threatened by the robot invaders.
“I’ve been a security guard for 15 years — I’ve seen everything,” said William, a 74-year-old Brooklyn resident who works at the Manhattan Mall.
Credit: NY Post