Looking at an average factory comparison between 1950 and 2014, it might be interesting to see how many humans still work the manual jobs inside the facility. Microsoft is looking to get rid of some of its security workforce at the main Silicon Valley campus, replacing guards with autonomous robots that can patrol, alert and even charge without any user control.
The K5 robots have in-built cameras, sensors and alert noises. The robots can be set specific routes or roam around an area, capable of spotting trespassers from far away. The robot does not currently have any way to tackle the trespasser head on, simply informing a human security guard. The robot does look like something out of Star Wars, like a fresh R2D2 without the articulation. The K5 robot has been used by other companies before Microsoft, but this is the biggest public company to embrace the security bot.
In terms of maintenance, the K5 robot is pretty independent. When it needs charging — which it will once every 24 hours — it simply goes to the charging bay and re-fills on its own. Microsoft has clearly thought about the costs and see this as a plus.
The security guards job at the Silicon Valley campus just got a hell of a lot easier too, even if it means Microsoft does not need as many guards. Whenever one of the robots starts yelling, the guard can rush to the scene, but otherwise it should be a peaceful time.
Robots, drones and AI are becoming all the more relevant and not just for manual labor jobs. The entrance of smart home tech is starting to change the time needed for miscellaneous tasks, allowing humans to get on with more important things like watching back-to-back episodes of Netflix.