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Microsoft Employs Robots as Security Guards

This photo from California manufacturer Knightscope shows the company's K5 security robot keeping tabs on a parking area.

Several 1-1/2-meter - tall, 136-kilogram robots have recently started patrolling Microsoft’s compound in California's Silicon Valley as security guards.

Autonomous movable platforms equipped with lasers, cameras and various sensors are already being used for operations such as looking for explosive devices or earthquake victims. But the U.S. software giant has taken robotic surveillance a step further with its fleet of bullet-shaped automatons.

The K5s, as they're called, move around outdoor areas, garages and parking lots, scanning situations with their HD cameras and a whole range of sensors, much like human guards would do.

They can read cars’ license plates, check them against a database, and detect and report unusual activities to a supervisor.

The robotic guards are not armed. Instead, they are programmed to assess situations and defuse them or sound an alarm and summon human support.

The battery in each robot runs for 24 hours, after which the device returns to a station for a 20-minute recharge.

The manufacturer, the California company Knightscope, says its robot guards will take over the monotonous and tiresome work, leaving humans to deal with more complicated tasks.

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