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VIDEO: NYPD deploy robot police dog in the Bronx

A dog-like robot. [RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN/TNS]
March 01, 2021

The New York Police Department deployed a new robotic police dog to clear a crime scene in the Bronx on Tuesday.

Used during an investigation in the Wakefield section, the 70-pound robotic dog uses “cameras and lights mounted on the device which allow the NYPD to view its surroundings in real-time,” police spokesperson Sgt. Jessica McRorie told Fox 5 NY.

In the video, the robot, painted blue, black and yellow and labeled “DIGIDOG,” is seen walking alongside a group of men as the person filming says, “That thing is creepy.”

Created by Boston Dynamics, the robot K9 is capable of climbing stairs, searching and examining potentially dangerous areas and carrying small cargo. If needed, the robot can be equipped to open doors, recover objects and take measurements.

The NYPD didn’t disclose any details of the operation, but did confirm the robot dog’s involvement.

“The device deployed today to the inside of an apartment located within the confines of the 47th Precinct as part of an ongoing investigation,” McRorie said, “and it was determined there were not any individuals inside of the location.” 

“This allows the NYPD to have eyes and ears and also talk to individuals in life-threatening situations,” said John Jay College professor Keith Taylor.

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to condemn the use of the robot dog.

“Shout out to everyone who fought against community advocates who demanded these resources go to investments like school counseling instead,” she tweeted. “Now robotic surveillance ground drones are being deployed for testing on low-income communities of color with under-resourced schools.”

The congresswoman continued, “Please ask yourself: when was the last time you saw next-generation, world class technology for education, healthcare, housing, etc. consistently prioritized for underserved communities like this?”

Last June, Boston Dynamics announced that businesses could pre-order the robot dog, dubbed “Spot,” for $74,500, CNN reported.

The announcement expanded the robot’s availability, which was initially limited to “domestic and international businesses and research facilities.”

“The combination of Spot’s sophisticated software and high performance mechanical design enables the robot to augment difficult or dangerous human work,” Marc Raibert, chairman and founder of Boston Dynamics, said in a statement. “Now you can use Spot to increase human safety in environments and tasks where traditional automation hasn’t been successful.”

According to CNN, Spot can run approximately 5.2 feet per second, has cameras for eyes that boast a 360-degree range of vision, is dust- and water-proof, and is capable of operating in temperatures ranging from -4 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit.