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As progress marches on we see more and more science fiction turning into science fact and the latest examples are crime fighting robots. One goes by the uncomplicated name of K5. The robot has been developed by Californian firm Knightscope. K5, also known as an Autonomous Data Machine stands five feet tall and weighs in at 300 pounds. K5 uses a 360 degree thermal camera, laser range finding, automatic number plate recognition (it can also therefore recognise faces) and weather sensors to monitor locations for unusual activities. Make no mistake, K5’s makers claim it can do the job as well as a human, and the American taxi company Uber are using K5 robots to patrol their car park in San Francisco. If K5 detects anything unusual it takes photographs of the events and sets off alarms. The robots are hired rather than purchased for as little as $7 per hour and are usually deployed in pairs to allow one to recharge whilst the other remains on patrol. (

Next up is the more uncommonly named robot RAMSEE. Designed by Gama 2 Robotics RAMSEE uses lasers, infra red detection equipment, 360 degree cameras and sensors to scan an environment and identify anything suspicious. Human beings remain in control of the decision-making process and need to assess the data that RAMSEE sends in order to decide on what action needs to be taken. The proposed ideal use will be to patrol night time environments that are difficult to recruit patrols for and, of course, the robots will be cost-efficient. Ramsee bears more than a passing resemblance to the cartoon-style friendly robot on wheels; it even displays a smiling face! (


Last but by no means least in the march of crime fighting robotics is a more serious use of a robot by American Police to kill a suspect. Dallas Police used a bomb-disposal robot to deliver and detonate an explosive charge to the immediate area of a man suspected of being involved in the killing of five police officers and the wounding of seven others. The robot was deployed by remote control.