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Man arrested after knocking over a 300-pound security robot

Sure, the K5 isn’t the cutest robot making its first steps into human society, but that doesn’t mean drunks get to knock it over. One of the five-foot droids took a tumble last week in Mountain View, when a drunk man took umbrage to its whistlin’, patrolling ways. (Knocking it over is a bit of feat in itself: the thing weighs 300 pounds.) It’s not the first robot to suffer: Softbank’s — more adorable — Pepper has felt the cruelty of mankind while working in a phone store, while Hitchbot lasted just two weeks when it tried to cross America. It suffered a vandal attack in Philadelphia that cut its journey short.

Police say Jason Sylvain knocked down the Knightscope droid while it was patrolling the parking lot, last week. The man faces prowling and public intoxication charges, but it appears the robot gets some credit for arresting its attacker. Stacy Dean Stephens, Knightscope’s VP of marketing told CNET that: “The robot did exactly as it was suppose to do. The ‘assault’ was detected and immediately reported. The alarms on the robot sounded, the suspect attempted to flee the scene and was detained by one of my colleagues and me until the Mountain View Police arrived.”

Sylvain apparently wanted to test the security of Knightscope’s patrol drones. We’re more intrigued as to how he toppled 300 pounds of robot. That might prove useful in the future.

Source: ABC 7

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UK drone rules will require you to take safety tests

UK drone rules will require you to take safety tests

US officials might be easing up on drone regulations, but their UK counterparts are pushing forward. The British government has instituted rules that require you to not only register any robotic aircraft weighing over 250g (0.55lbs), but to take a "safety awareness" test to prove you understand the drone code. Regulators hope that this will lead to fewer drones flying over airports and otherwise causing havoc in British skies. Not that they're taking any chances -- the UK is also planning wider use of geofencing to prevent drones from flying into dangerous airspace.

The new rules come following a study highlighting the dangers of wayward drones. A smaller drone isn't necessarily safer than its larger alternatives, for example -- many of those more compact models have exposed rotors that can do a lot of damage. A drone weighing around 400 g (0.88lbs) can crack the windscreen of a helicopter, while all but the heaviest drones will have trouble cracking the windscreen of an airliner (and then only at speeds you'd expect beyond the airport). While you might not cause as much chaos as some have feared, you could still create a disaster using a compact drone.

It's nothing new to register drones, of course, and it doesn't appear to have dampened enthusiasm in the US. The test adds a wrinkle, though: how willing are you to buy a drone if you know you'll have to take a quiz? The test likely won't slow sales too much, if at all, but it could give people one more reason to pause before buying a drone on impulse. Manufacturers appear to be in favor of the new rulebook, at any rate -- DJI tells the BBC that the UK is striving for a "reasonable" solution that balances safety with a recognition of the advantages that drones can bring to public life.

Source: Gov.uk (1), (2)

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