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 Robotic police dog infographic
Graphic shows Boston Dynamics “Spot” digital dog.


New York Police deploy Digidog

By Duncan Mil

April 12, 2023 - The New York Police Department is enlisting a remote-controlled robotic dog -- Boston Dynamics’ “Spot” -- an agile 32-kilogram digidog able to climb stairs and survey hazards.

“Digidog is out of the pound,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat and former police officer. “Digidog is now part of the toolkit that we are using,” Mayor Adams said during Tuesday’s (April 11) press conference.

Spot’s predecessor, the city’s first robot police dog, was leased in 2020 by Adams’ predecessor, former Mayor Bill de Blasio, and successfully used for surveillance during a situation with a gunman barricading inside a building.

However, critics derided its use as dystopian. Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, said: “The NYPD is turning bad science fiction into terrible policing. New York deserves real safety, not a knockoff RoboCop.”

City officials say the NYPD will acquire two robot dogs for $750,000. They will only be used during life-threatening situations, such as hostage standoffs and bomb threats, starting this summer.

“I believe that technology is here; we cannot be afraid of it,” Mayor Adams said. “A few loud people were opposed to it, and we took a step back — that is not how I operate. I operate on looking at what’s best for the city.”

The Hyundai-owned Boston Dynamics make the robot which works in situations that may threaten humans, helping to inspect dangerous areas and monitor construction sites.

PUBLISHED: 12/04/2023; STORY: Graphic News