Robot keeps watch over Pasco Co. property

- It looks like something out of a science fiction movie, but the goal of the 300-pound, five-foot robot is to keep you safe. 

They're known as autonomous data machines. The technology is already being used in shopping malls and office complexes, and for the first time, the robot is patrolling in a Pasco County community.

Precious cargo in a massive shipping crate arrived at Union Park in Wesley Chapel just days ago.  The machine inside is part of a one-year pilot program.

"We affectionately call him Deputy Metro," said Kartik Goyani, Vice President of Operation for Metro Development Group.

The robot's been wheeling around this neighborhood and other Metro Development Group properties with the end goal of stepping up security adding a second pair of eyes to the streets.

"It's essentially just a roving patrol that will keep the bad people out of our communities," Goyani said.
           
The K5 machine is part of California based Knightscope's beta program for security bots.

It won't be armed with a gun, but it's loaded with four high-definition cameras for 360-degree vision, an infrared sensor so it can see at night, and a two-way intercom that people can use to get help.

"The software is programmed to alert and notify,” explained Goyani. “The idea is that if there's a notification or a distress call or there's an issue here, someone can quickly look at it in real time and try to get the help if people need that."

"It's just another little piece of technology moving about, like security cameras or anything else," said Union Park Resident Jacob Crosby.

He welcomes the technology around the neighborhood and says having a security bot would make him feel more protected.

"The robot seems to have a lot of practical uses with the recording of the 360 vision,” Crosby said.  “I think it could definitely come in handy if something would happen, like a break-in or something, it could definitely detect that."

The machine is in the testing phase right now, however, Metro Development Group plans to work with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office so officials have access to any the video the Deputy Metro records.

"We take people's privacy and security very, very seriously, and so will the Knightscope robot as well," said Goyani.

Since Deputy Metro is so new, right now it's just mapping out the neighborhoods so it can rove around on its own. Exactly how the technology will be put to use is still a work in progress.

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