Robot safety in downtown Honolulu is getting a lot of attention


HONOLULU (KHON2) – There’s a new security guard getting a lot of attention at the Financial Plaza of the Pacific in downtown Honolulu, but that’s not what you might think – it is actually a robot and the newest member of Bank of Hawaii Obliger Security.

It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie – only it’s actually real. Currently, the security robot is patrolling the bustling Bank of Hawaii financial center and around Bishop and Merchant streets.

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For many people, the robot is a curiosity – attracting a lot of weird stares – with some people capturing videos and even posing for selfies. But many others, like Nasir Randall, are not sure what to make of it.

“It’s kinda funny. It reminded me of the Wall-E movie on Disney. It’s a bit insanely futuristic.

Nasir Randall

“I think it sounds like Dalek’s character from Dr. Who,” said Pitsusha Short, who works nearby. “But this one is a cuter version.”

The robot is called the Knightscope K5, and he’s been on the Bank of Hawaii security team for about a month.

“I don’t mind,” added Minette Baldes. “I do not care.”

“We think it’s pretty cool,” said Patrick McGuirk, chief executive officer of the Bank of Hawaii. “I think it really fits Bank of Hawaii. We are a leader in banking technology and innovation, so it is only natural that we are at the forefront of other critical areas of our business, such as security.

The K5 is weatherproof, has a 360-degree view, records high-definition video, is constantly monitored, and has sensors to prevent it from hitting objects. The robot can even speak; unfortunately he did not speak to KHON2.

Brian Ishikawa, director of corporate security at Bank of Hawaii, said the robot has audio capabilities, but it doesn’t necessarily speak on its own.

“There is prerecorded verbiage that a guard from a member of my staff can throw and say ‘Hello’ and ‘Have a good day’,” Ishikawa noted.

Otherwise, the robot will make a silent hum, a sort of technological hum.

“It’s like making a sound too; it’s like it’s crazy, ”Randall said.

Ishikawa said security can even speak through the robot.

“If need be, you can also press a button,” Ishikawa explained, “and a guard can enlist through this phone system.”

The robot is 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 390 pounds; it’s not very intimidating.

“That says safety (on it),” Randall said. “I don’t know what it really protects. “

However, Ishikawa disagreed and said, “The robot’s intention is really to provide a technological tool to improve our security posture for the bank, basically to make things safer here.”

Bank of Hawaii is currently using two K5 Knightscopes at two downtown locations and said it may add more later.

“It’s kind of our review to see whether or not we want to do more in the future,” Ishikawa said. “But for now, I think it’s a good opportunity to explore this type of technology. We provide a technological tool to help make our on-call staff more effective and efficient.

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Ishikawa also said the Bank of Hawaii has no intention of eliminating custodial staff.


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