Girardi | Keese

The Future of Security on Campus and Elsewhere: Robot Security Guards

As we've written on our page about premises liability cases (where someone is injured on someone else's property), the difference between a safe environment and a dangerous one can be small but important.

As Rachel Metz writes for MIT Technology Review ("Rise of the Robot Security Guards"), startup company Knightscope has built what it calls the K5, a security robot that will roll through colleges and corporations, with the goal of making your environment safe.

The K5 could be the future of security, which will undoubtedly raise novel legal issues when it comes to premises liability. In theory, the K5 robot and others like it could eliminate the problem of negligent security, at least when it comes to security guards.

What is Negligent Security and How Could the K5 Affect It?

Negligent security is one aspect of premises liability. In these cases, the allegations generally involve a basic lack of maintenance or carelessness - broken locks on doors, lack of sufficient lighting (such as in parking lots), and inadequate or negligent security.

When it comes to security, specifically, there are certain issues that can give rise to problems. One of those issues is the human element. Even in places that staff security guards (as opposed to no guards at all), guards are just as prone to making mistakes from time to time as anyone else. A lack of attention, for instance, could give rise to a preventable injury. A classic scenario is the assault on a woman getting into her car in a darkened parking lot.

Metz quotes Knightscope's VP of sales and marketing: "This takes away the monotonous and sometimes dangerous work, and leaves the strategic work to law enforcement or private security, depending on the application."

Which is all well and good, as long as the K5 doesn't become self-aware.

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