Robots Purge Homeless From San Francisco Sidewalks

Tyler Durden — Zero Hedge Dec 14, 2017

As the homeless crisis on America’s West Coast forces many cities to the financial brink, one innovative animal shelter in San Francisco is using a low cost, high-tech robot security guard to shoo away the homeless outside its facilities, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

The San Francisco branch of the SPCA (the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) contracted Knightscope to provide a k5 robot (the same model which in July commited suicide at a mall fountain) for securing the outdoor spaces of the animal shelter. Knightscope’s business model allows the SPCA to rent the robot for around $7 an hour, which is about $3 less than the minimum wage in California. According to San Francisco Business Times, the robot was deployed as a “way to try dealing with the growing number of needles, car break-ins and crime that seemed to emanate from nearby tent encampments of homeless people.”

The robot, weighing in at 400 pounds and standing over 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide, has been autonomously patrolling the sidewalks of the facility with a top speed of 3 MPH for more than a month, as far as we can tell. Sensors and fancy technology integrated with-in the robot are used to deter the pesky homeless from setting up shop.

Jennifer Scarlett, president of the SPCA told the Business Times: “We weren’t able to use the sidewalks at all when there’s needles and tents and bikes, so from a walking standpoint I find the robot much easier to navigate than an encampment.”

One resident was “freaked out” as the robot patrols the parking lot of the facility.

Another resident caught the robot cruising down the sidewalk at top speed.

The social media reaction, on the other hand, has been overwhelmingly negative, shaming the SPCA for deploying the robot for targeting the homeless, while some blamed capitalism.

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