"We weren't able to use the sidewalks at all when there's needles and tents and bikes, so from a walking standpoint I find the robot much easier to navigate than an encampment," Jennifer Scarlett, the S.F. SPCA's president, told the Business Times.
Once the SPCA started using the robot on the sidewalks around its campus in early November, Scarlett said, there were no more homeless encampments. [...]
The people in the encampments showed their displeasure with the robot's presence at least once. Within about a week of the robot starting its automated route along the sidewalks, some people setting up a camp "put a tarp over it, knocked it over and put barbecue sauce on all the sensors," Scarlett said. [...]
The robot is a K5 unit and has a top speed of three miles per hour, according to Knightscope's website. The units are more than five feet tall and weigh 400 pounds. They are equipped with four cameras, "each capable of reading up to 300 license plates per minute" and sending alerts when trespassers or people on a "blacklist" are in an area. [...]
Having humans replace the robot's 24/7 shift would be "cost prohibitive," though, Scarlett said. The robot costs about $6 per hour to rent, she said. The minimum wage in San Francisco is $14 per hour.
Gosh, that sounds "prohibitive". I guess they have "no choice" in the matter.