This Is a Sputnik Moment’: NYC Is Adding AI Metal Detectors to the Subway

Key Points:

  • Metal detectors with AI technology to enhance subway safety
  • Detectors can identify guns and distinguish from other metallic objects
  • Awaited deployment after a 90-day period for NYPD strategy evaluation


NYC Mayor Eric Adams introduced a plan to boost subway safety by implementing AI-powered metal detectors to identify guns on individuals without flagging non-threatening items like phones. Despite a slightly delayed response, the detectors performed well during a recent demonstration. Produced by Evolv, the detectors utilize AI technology to differentiate between various metal objects quickly. However, the intricacies of how the AI operates were not fully explained during the event.


Dubbed a “Sputnik moment” by the mayor, the detectors aim to enhance security in the city, reminiscent of past initiatives such as installing surveillance cameras on train cars, employing software to identify fare dodgers, and deploying robot dogs. The NYPD is currently evaluating the best approach for implementing the detectors throughout the subway system, with a mandatory 90-day waiting period before their introduction.


While overall crime rates have shown a decrease in recent months, headline-grabbing incidents such as random assaults on women have sparked concerns among residents. Despite ongoing efforts to bolster safety measures, including the upcoming deployment of AI-equipped metal detectors, challenges remain in maintaining public safety in a complex urban environment like New York City.



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