At first glance, the K5 security robot looks like a cartoonish Star Wars character.
"The vast majority of people see it and go, 'Oh my God, that's so cute.' We've had people go up and hug it, and embrace it for whatever reason," said Stacy Stephens, co-founder of Knightscope, headquartered in Mountain View.
They are unarmed, but they are imposing: about 5 feet tall and 300 pounds, which very likely will make someone think twice before committing a crime in their presence.
"The first thing that's going to happen is the burglar is going to spot the robot. And unfortunately, criminals are inherently lazy. They're not looking for something that's going to be confrontational, they're looking for something that's going to be an easy target," said Stacy Stephens, co-founder of Knightscope. "They see the robot and maybe they move down to the next place down the street."
The security robots are autonomous, meaning they operate on their own. They don't chase a bad guy down or make arrests.
They are designed to avoid confrontations. When someone steps right in front of one, the robot will stop. Then it will redirect its path around the person. All the while, sending video inside to a control center where a human is monitoring.
If a would-be burglar persists, Stephens said, "Then, the robot is looking at the video, listening for glass breakage, any loud sound that breaking in would cause. We'll get the license plate, picture of the vehicle, geotag location, and time."