Are you ready for autonomous robots/drones operating in your community?
Well ready or not Boston Dynamics, which once was partially funded by Google, has been perfecting small robotics for use in the military and police departments for over a decade.
NYPD is set to deploy a 70-pound robotic dog made by Boston Dynamics that is capable of opening doors and moving objects out of its path.
In fact, the ‘dog’, called Digidog, has already been used to apprehend a suspect, according to a report by ABC 7 News.
“This dog is going to save lives, protect people, and protect officers and that’s our goal,” NYPD Technical Assistance Response Unit Inspector (TARU) Frank Digiacomo said.
“This robot is able to use its artificial intelligence to navigate things, very complex environments,” NYPD TARU’s Deepu John added.
The robot dogs have been in development for years now, but we are starting to see them being embraced by law enforcement.
For now, this is the department’s only robot dog and during this test phase, it has only been used a few times. But officers are hoping to add more, they’re convinced Digidog has a bright future here with the NYPD.
Indeed, this latest development will raise concerns that the machine could be used to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing, as witnessed earlier this year in Singapore:
John, one of many officers trained to operate the robot dog, says it’s as simple as playing a video game.
It’s covered with cameras and lights which allows police to get a real-time look at things.
“We can send it into complete darkness and get an idea of what’s going on inside,” John said.
Digidog has already been put to use by the department, including in Brooklyn back in October when a shooting suspect had barricaded himself in a home.
And later in Queens, Digidog came in handy at a tense scene where two armed men were holding five hostages in a home.
“People wanted food so we strapped food onto it and sent it into the location,” Digiacomo said.
Digidog is also capable of two-way communication, for example, if an officer needs to talk with a suspect he or she can.
“In January an arm is coming out so it will be open doors and move objects,” Digiacomo said.