Hayward P.D. searching for person who kicked, damaged robot security guard

Image 1 of 3

On August 3, a person kicked and knocked over a 400-pound, security-guard robot that was simply doing its job, patrolling a parking-garage structure. Now, Hayward Police Department is looking for the culprit, and they have photos. %INLINE%

The Knightscope K5 unit was able to snap photos of the suspect, "before it took a tumble," according to police.  

"The Knightscope K5 robot is a project that was initiated in response to security and vandalism concerns at the Watkins Street garage," Hayward P.D. wrote on their Facebook page on Tuesday.    

The robot moves around the multi-leveled parking structure 24 hours a day at the speed of 3 mph. 

Knightscope, a Mountain View-based company, touts the K5 units' many successes on their website. They include that a commercial property owner’s incidents of crime has gone down from 20 a month to one for all of last year since their robot was deployed and has been patrolling 24/7. 

The robots are even purported to have saved a casino operator $100,000 by avoiding a slip-and-fall lawsuit when it provided "eye-level video coverage of the incident."  

Despite these successes, other types of robots have been criticized for their lack of human touch. Last spring, a hospital robot in Fremont entered a patient’s room to allow a doctor to deliver the news, via a screen, that the patient didn’t have long to live. 

Privacy advocates have been critical of the “Big Brother” qualities the Knightscope robots’ possess. We previously reported the K5 unit has four cameras, the ability to call police, and can track up to 300 license plates in a minute. 

In San Francisco, when a unit was deployed at a gas station last summer, the robot led to customer confusion.

The San Francisco SPCA employed a K5 robot as well, but things didn't go over well when it was reported the robot's presence led to a homeless encampment to disappear. There, the robot was attacked, restrained and left with barbecue smudges on its sensors. 

The extent of the damage to the robot in Hayward was not clear, but police said if you recognize the person from the photos, please contact them at (510) 293-3433.