NYC Mayor Eric Adams touts new robot deployed in war on subway crime

The future of high-tech policing in crime-ridden New York City has finally arrived with Gotham’s brand-new surveillance robot ready to make its highly anticipated debut in Times Square where it will be patrolling the subway along with a human partner.

On Friday, Mayor Eric Adams joined law enforcement officials at a news conference announcing that the 400-pound fully autonomous wheeled robot, which resembles a taller, sleeker version of the famous droid R2-D2 from the “Star Wars” franchise, will roll through the Midtown subway station on its first shift on a pilot program for two months accompanied by an NYPD officer.

“We’re committed to exploring innovative tools to continue to make this city the safest big city in America, and this robot K5, it has the potential to serve as an important tool in our toolbox,” said Hizzoner, a retired police officer.

(Video:  CBS New York)

“This is below minimum wage,” Adams said of the robot that’s being leased for $9 an hour. “No bathroom breaks, no meal breaks.”

“It’s cost-effective— $9, I think, an hour? $9 an hour. That’s below minimum wage. And we only pay for it when it’s being operated and when it’s actually operating. So, this is a hugely cost-effective way, as we deal with very challenging budget restraints we need to find a more cost-efficient ways to bring about safety,” the city’s top Democrat said at the news conference.

“So, we’re going to look at the pilot, and then we’re going to make a determination of where are good places, like this. These are wide platforms. It’s easy to move around, so it’s not…this is not fit for everywhere. It’s about adapting based on where it is and then we would decide the expansion of it,” the mayor added.

Adams, who announced the pilot program earlier this year, took to X, the platform formerly named Twitter, to tout the K5 robot.

Not everyone was as enthusiastic about K5’s debut as Mayor Adams and X users reacted with a resounding Bronx cheer.

Privacy rights advocate Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, derisively referred to K5 as a “trash can on wheels.”

“If the mayor thinks there aren’t enough cameras in Times Square, then he’s more out of touch than I realized,” he said, according to the New York Times.

“It’s more surveillance theater,” Cahn added. “This is a mayor who doubles down on public relations stunts rather than public safety any chance he gets.”

“The K5 is best suited for securing large, outdoor spaces through the winters of the Northeast and the summers of the South. Give yourself additional eyes, ears and a voice by utilizing our fully integrated Knightscope Security Operations Center user interface. Now you have an advanced, force-multiplying physical deterrent on your team, giving you the power to better secure the places people work, study, and visit,” states Knightscope, the robot’s manufacturer on the company’s website.

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