The next time you visit Twin Arrows Casino Resort, you may meet “K5” patrolling the Twin Arrows parking lot. Looking and sounding a bit like R2-D2, the Star Wars character, the Knightscope K5 is a 398-pound autonomous robot that provides a commanding, but friendly, physical presence. The security robot, the first in Arizona, acts as a visual deterrent as well as an information gathering machine.
“It’s not a one-to-one replacement for a security guard; it’s really just a way of taking their security team and bringing it to the next level by adding additional intelligence,” said Stacy Stephens, co-founder of Knightscope, Inc. The Silicon Valley firm develops security robots for both indoor and outdoor use at malls, corporate campuses, airports, stadiums, logistics facilities, warehouses, hospitals, manufacturing plants and a number of other locations across the country. Stephens was on location at the 300,000-square-foot casino facility for a media sneak preview of the robot’s unveiling.
The innovative security idea was brought to casino management by Twin Arrows Director of Security Joe Gustafson. “We like to be on the leading edge here at Twin Arrows,” said Gustafson, a board member for Arizona InfraGard, a collaborative effort among the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the private sector and other agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Small Business Administration. His participation with InfraGard and other professional associations has educated him on leading-edge technologies and out-of-the-box security solutions. “We thought about how we could apply AI [artificial intelligence] in security situations,” he said.
“The safety of our guests and team members is our number one priority,” explained Brian Parrish, interim CEO of The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (Navajo Gaming), in a press release. “Our Twin Arrows leadership and security teams have collaborated with Knightscope’s engineers to create a robot that augments our strong existing system and enhances our resources in a cost-effective way, as we continuously evaluate ways to improve.”
“The main purpose is to enhance the security team for the safety of our guests. It’s not here to replace jobs,” reiterated Twin Arrows Director of Marketing Ken Johnson. “The robot will help free up other team members to handle more serious concerns on the property.”
“Secondarily, the Knightscope K5 is a marketing tool that we can utilize. The robot builds excitement to come to the property. It also gives us marketing information on where people are coming from,” added the marketing director of the AAA four-diamond resort. The robot, emblazoned with the Twin Arrows name and logo, can read license plates to collect such marketing data, but it does not have facial-recognition capabilities and does not collect personal information of the guests to the luxury resort property. “K5 is like a walking billboard on-property. We invite the public to come out to meet the robot and take selfies,” said Johnson.
Five sensors allow K5 to gather important real-time, on-site data, which is then processed to determine if there is a concern or threat in the area. If so, an appropriate alert notification is sent to the Twin Arrows security team through the Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC), the included browser-based user interface. The five sensors include a laser beam light detection sensor on the top, sonar sensors like on the back-up bumpers of cars, a GPS sensor that triangulates with satellites for positioning information, an inertia measurement sensor that measures movement and sensors in the wheel covers to keep the robot balanced and track distances.
The Twin Arrows K5 robot gives visual clues as well. Seven strobe lights flash blue if all is well and change to red if a threat is perceived. If there is a concern in the area, an appropriate alert notification is sent to the Twin Arrows security team through the Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC), the browser-based user interface.
“Twin Arrows K5 robot can record, stream, send and store video; provide thermal imaging; read RFID tags; track parked cars; serve as a two-way intercom; play pre-recorded and custom messages; and detect humans in places they’re not supposed to be at Twin Arrows,” said Stephens, vice president of the market-leading security robot firm in a press release. “Navajo Gaming is an incredibly forward-thinking enterprise focused on creating the safest possible environment for their guests, in a cost-effective way that frees up human security team members to handle more complex situations with a wide variety of guests from around the world.”
Twin Arrows employees have taken part in a contest to give Knightscope K5 a name. The name will be announced soon. FBN
By Stacey Wittig, FBN
Knightscope, Inc. knightscope.com
Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort twinarrows.com