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Knightscope Inc. has received its Authority to Operate from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Mountain View, Calif.-based security robot provider said this will enable it to be listed on the FedRAMP Marketplace as an approved provider for federal agencies.
FedRAMP is a governmentwide program to validate the security of cloud-based software used by federal agencies and buildings. Knightscope added that the Authority to Operate (ATO) will allow it to deploy its first K5 Autonomous Security Robot (ASR) under a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) contract.
“Knightscope’s ATO achievement proves our organizational focus on cybersecurity and our unwavering commitment to our mission of better securing our country,” said Mercedes Soria, executive vice president and chief intelligence officer at the company, in a release. She led the nearly three-year effort to reach this milestone.
“We believe going through this intense and rigorous process has improved our security posture, which also will positively impact commercial and civilian applications,” Soria added.
Why federal suppliers need an ATO
The U.S. government created the ATO to provide a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. The process of certification and accreditation can take a long time for technology suppliers.
Vendors choose to go through the ATO process because of the potential value of having the federal government as a client. The government uses ATOs to keep its networks safe by checking the security of both new and old systems. Authorization shows that a company understands that its system’s benefits outweigh its practical dangers and that it is resistant to hacking.
The security risk could be substantial, as Knightscope’s systems use cameras to take images of their surroundings. In a federal building, some areas patrolled by robots might include sensitive information or expose content of value to other nations.
In the wrong hands, this data could be a threat to both the content of the building, as well as national security. As a result, a mobile robot such as Knightscope’s K5 requires rigorous validation. Knightscope said it is one of 324 companies to receive authorization to date.
Knightscope follows roadmap to growth
Knightscope went through a long process to get its ATO, according to a blog post titled “2024 Roadmap to Profitable Growth” by William Santana Li, chairman and CEO of the company. In the first phase, Knightscope’s robots conducted a “large-scale proof of concept,” logging millions of hours in the field for commercial customers, generating more than $30 million, and demonstrating that they could help combat crime.
The next important milestones for the company include shipping the K5 indoor and outdoor robot and the new K1 Hemisphere stationary sensor system. The company also recently launched its Automated Gunshot Detection (AGD) capability.
As Knightscope enters its second phase, it must demonstrate 50% to 67% profit margins and organizational effectiveness, wrote Santana Li. The company is also working toward more versions of its ASR and is considering acquisitions, he said.
Knightscope is working on its largest autonomous security vehicle, the K7. It is a bit larger than a typical golf cart and is designed for offroad operations with four-wheel drive and four-wheel independent steering. Li stated that the company plans to begin taking pre-orders for the K7 in 2025.
Not only does completing the ATO process an important milestone for Knightscope in selling to the federal government, but it also provides private companies confidence in the company’s systems, said Santana Li.
“The multi-year effort to acquire the ATO showcases the relentless nature of the Knightscope team and significantly increases the TAM (total addressable market) that the company can serve,” he said. “Now it is time to build on that momentum as we continue to execute our multi-phase roadmap.”