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Tech company unleashes crime-fighting robots

Posted at 7:00 AM, Sep 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-20 07:00:00-04

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA (KGO/CNN) - Robots are joining the fight against crime.  

A Silicon Valley company unveiled two new robots on Tuesday that could help detect weapons at airports and offices.  

A crime-fighting robot can be the cutest thing you've ever seen or something to fear if you're a bad guy.

"If you put a 5'3" wide, 400 lb. machine there, no one knows actually what it does. That's going to deter a lot of negative behavior," Knightscope CEO Bill Santana Li said.

The robots have become more sophisticated. 

Knightscope took the wraps off two new models, the K1, which stands stationary at airports and offices, and the K7, a multi-terrain vehicle that moves like a crab and can cover large areas, such as oil fields.

The technology inside the K1 can detect concealed weapons.  

"So we're throwing different waves and looking at any disturbances in those waves and then using machine learning to realize that that might be an object that's not normal for someone to be carrying," Li said.

A 6'5" police officer can be very intimidating, but by comparison, this model K1 is only about 5' 6". It's not very intimidating, yet its mission is extremely critical, especially when it comes to saving lives.

Gort, the robot from the 1951 sci-fi classic, "The Day the Earth Stood Still," took its assignment seriously to get the citizens of the world to embrace peace.   

Those who are peaceable have no reason to fear as these robots are deployed next year, but they might have to learn how to coexist with humans, such as the toddler who got injured in a robot encounter last year at a mall.  

"We're going to have new environments and new things to think through, and that's why we iterate through our technology and do so in the wild, in the real world," Li said.

A Knightscope robot made news earlier in July by falling into a fountain in Washington, DC.

Copyright 2017 KGO via CNN. All rights reserved. Raycom News Network contributed to this report.