Knightscope HP RoboCop ignores woman reporting crime

Occurred: October 2019

A woman attempting to report a violent crime in a Los Angeles park was turned away by 'HP Robocop', a police robot on duty for Huntingdon Park Police Department.

Despite Cogo Guebara pushing the robot's its emergency alert button several times, it barked at Guebara to ‘Step out of the way’ and continued to glide along its pre-programmed route instead of offering assistance.

Media reports said people, especially children, said they felt generally reassured by the robot's presence. But some felt it resembled a form of creeping surveillance whilst others worry that a tendency amongst some to anthropomorphise the objects  highlights the disconnect between people’s expectations of the robot and the reality of its capabilities.

Knightscope robots combine self-driving technology, robotics and artificial intelligence to create what the company calls 'crime-fighting autonomous data machines.' According to Huntingdon police, leasing the robot for a year costs the city between USD 60,000-70,000, roughly equivalent to the annual salary of a Huntington Park police officer.

Operator: Huntington Park Police Department
Developer: Knightscope

Country: USA

Sector: Govt - police

Purpose: Strengthen security

Technology: Robotics
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Anthropomorphism; Surveillance


Page info
Type: Incident
Published: March 2023