In San Francisco, Robots Are Being Used To Accost The Homeless

Screengrab/Courtesy of Knightscope

The irony of a group that tries to house homeless animals chasing away homeless humans was not lost on critics.

In an effort to curb the number of homeless people setting up camp near its building, the San Francisco SPCA has enlisted a robot to patrol the area. The organization, which helps unite homeless animals with new owners, said it is a matter of keeping the sidewalks passable.

Krista Maloney, media relations manager for the SF SPCA, told Business Insider that staff wasn't able to safely use the sidewalks at times because of the encampments. Maloney added that since the SPCA started guarding its facilities with the robot — known as K9 — a month ago, the homeless encampments have dwindled and there have been fewer car break-ins.

The K9 belongs to a fleet of robot security guards owned by Knightscope, which is based in Mountain View, California.

Knightscope rents out the robots for $7 an hour — less than a security guard's hourly wage. The company has over 19 clients in five US states. Most customers, including Microsoft, Uber, and Juniper Networks, put the robots to work patrolling parking lots and office buildings.

The irony of a group that tries to house homeless animals using robots to ward off homeless humans was not lost on Twitter users: