Skip to main content

MB News

A.I. Robo-Dogs Proposed for E-Bike Violations

Apr 01, 2024 07:10AM ● By Mb News Staff

APRIL FOOL'S! THANKS FOR PLAYING ALONG WITH OUR ANNUAL TRADITION!

---------------------------------------------------------------

A startup company has proposed to deploy a “pack” of three robotic dogs, powered by Artificial Intelligence, to crack down on e-bike safety violations in Manhattan Beach.

Artemis Stiles, the CEO of the company eK9, told MB News that the company created the robo-dogs to help cities struggling with e-bike enforcement.

“We saw all those reports about kids running stop signs and piling on two, three to a bike," said Stiles. "That's where we came up with the idea of releasing the hounds. In this case, robot hounds.”

For Manhattan Beach, eK9 proposes a 60-day free trial, in hopes of garnering a longer-term contract.

Stiles said that the dogs will be trained to recognize types of e-bike violations that can be enforced, such as lack of helmets, multiple riders, and blowing stop signs.

“Once you tell them the mission and give them some basic inputs, they’ll figure it out,” said Stiles.

And how might the robo-dogs actually catch violators? 

Stiles said that the dogs sprint in front of e-bikes to slow and stop them, then apply wheel locks with their “teeth” before recording data for citations. (The pups are connected via 5G to police dispatchers, to call for backup if needed.)

The robo-dogs don’t need to be all-enforcement, all the time, Stiles added. They can also be programmed to compliment and reward good e-bike behavior. 

For instance, if one of the eK9s observes an e-biker riding solo, wearing a helmet and stopping at a stop sign, the pup might “sit” politely and issue a friendly, “woof, woof” to convey approval. The robo-dogs also could play a human voice recording, such as a thank-you from the mayor.

 

Stiles, who previously worked as an executive with medical devices innovator Theranos, said she wanted to be cautious about what to promise Manhattan Beach, but it was clear she’s optimistic. 

“Our dogs are safe and effective.” Stiles said, “We project the end of e-bike violations within 40 days. If we're right, they can move on to other things, like parking enforcement.”


City Leaders Skeptical

City leaders, who spoke to MB News on condition of anonymity, were skeptical of the eK9 proposal, questioning the "optics" and adding that Stiles appeared to be shifty about the cost of a full deployment after the 60-day test period.

“They make it attractive,” one city leader said, “both because the need is real, and because the first month or two is free. But soon, you’re in it for real money. It’s not like we can charge this to the public art fund. Can we?”

_____________________________________________

Got opinions? Let us know how you feel about eK9s. Just be sure to reference this April Fool’s Day post in your comments, and email them to: [email protected]. And please don’t blame Jeanne for this, it’s totally a Dave thing.

Subscribe to MB News Emails * Don't Miss a Thing, Sign Up Today!

* indicates required
Email Format