A Chinese company has taken a ground-patrolling robot idea developed by a Silicon Valley firm more than two years ago to the next logical step, at least in terms of security.
It has armed the thing.
The K-5 system marketed by Knightscope of California already has a cylindrical body and conical top reminiscent of a Dr. Who Dalek -- a fictional race of aliens -- but it's designed solely for monitoring and transmitting data.
The so-called Anbot built by China's National Defense University has pretty much the same body, but is even more Dalek-like. It features a Taser or extendable cattle prod, according to Popular Science, which reported on it from the bot during its demonstration at the Chongqing Hi-Tech Fair in Shenzhen, China.
Knightscope, which has a commercially available security system in place, has seen the Anbot. Except for the weaponization, said Stacy Dean Stephens, the company’s vice president for marketing, “It’s basically a copy-and-paste job, if you will.”
China’s NDU said that the robot could be deployed not only for routine police patrolling, but for riot control. In any case where its weapon might have to be fired the Dalek -- umm, Anbot -- would be under the control of a human pilot, NDU staff demonstrating it told reporters.
Images and videos of the Anbot shared across social media spurred lots of references to movie- and TV-bots, from R2D2 of Star Wars to ED-209 from the original Robocop and, of course, the Daleks who have been “exterminating” across the universe since 1963.
Edward Snowden, the U.S.’s most famous whistleblower, tweeted of the Anbot from Russia: “Surely this will end well.”