Silicon Valley Security Guard Robot Injures Toddler

And violates the first rule of robotics

Knightscope Security Robot Standing Still

Knightscope Security Robot Standing Still

The K5 robot stands 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 300 pounds.Knightscope

Robots make cheap security guards, but they don't necessarily make the best security guards. Last week, a guard robot at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California, collided with a 16-month-old and kept driving. ABC 7 News reports:

It amuses shoppers of all ages, but last Thursday, 16-month-old Harwin Cheng had a frightening collision with the robot. "The robot hit my son's head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward," Harwin's mom Tiffany Teng said. Harwin's parents say the robot ran over his right foot, causing it to swell, but luckily the child didn't suffer any broken bones. Harwin also got a scrape on his leg from the incident. "He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries," Teng said. Stanford Shopping Center and Knightscope, the Mountain View company that built the robot, have yet to respond to our emails and voicemail messages.

The robot is a Knightscope guard, similar to the kind Uber tested for patrolling its parking lots. The robots patrol pre-programmed routes or in geo-fenced areas, and can record video in normal and infrared vision. They're rented as a pair, with one patrolling while the other recharges, for just $7 hour. That's $3/hour less than California's minimum wage.

In Uber’s parking lot, where local drivers report for regular vehicle inspections, the robots are likely to only ever encounter adults or cars, both of which have a fairly uniform height and predictable movement patterns. In a mall, filled with the full range and variety of human life, robots should be able to notice and navigate around toddlers. That's not just elementary, it's pre-K.