NYPD brings again the Digidog robotic canine, two years after tearing up its contract with Boston Dynamics
Hot potato: The NYPD welcomes the return of an ex-cop: Digidog, a closely modified Spot robotic canine from Boston Dynamics. Its return comes two years after the NYPD canceled its contract with the robotics firm amid backlash over Digidog’s potential surveillance capabilities and its memory of the Metalhead droid from the dystopian TV present Black Mirror.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams introduced Digidog’s return at a press convention yesterday, claiming that remote-controlled machines can “save lives.” That’s in stark distinction to former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s spokesman, Bill Neidhardt, who in 2021 mentioned it was creepy, alienating and despatched the unsuitable message to New Yorkers.
Spot did have some success throughout his first tenure with the NYPD. It was deployed for reconnaissance functions throughout a 2020 incident when a gunman took refuge in a basement after a taking pictures. A yr later, it was utilized in the identical capability to research the house throughout a house invasion earlier than police entered.
But it was video footage of the second incident that led to criticism of Digidog’s use, led by U.S. House of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Then-Mayor Bill de Blasio informed the NYPD to “rethink” the way it makes use of robots. The unit promptly terminated a $94,000 contract with Boston Dynamics.
.@NYPDnews Always on the forefront of public security. They improve, consider and innovate new methods to guard our cities.immediately we noticed @TimesSquareNYC.
– Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) April 11, 2023
But Digidog is again, and with it are two different types of safety and surveillance know-how that the NYPD is utilizing: StarChase’s automobile/handheld GPS transmitter that deploys GPS monitoring tags to suspects’ automobiles; and Knightscope’s K5 ASR, a “autonomous out of doors safety robotic.” You might recall an earlier model of the robotic was accused of knocking over a toddler and throwing itself (or falling) right into a fountain in 2017. There was additionally an incident the place a person knocked one of many robots to the bottom. He is claimed to have been drunk on the time, however nonetheless managed to take the 300-pound machine off together with his fists.
“This is the start of a collection of demonstrations that we will do to indicate how public security can rework itself,” Adams mentioned. “Some loud folks had been towards it and we took a step again — that is not how I function. My operation is searching for what’s finest for the town.”
The NYPD will buy two robotic canines for a complete of $750,000. They will solely be utilized in life-threatening conditions, reminiscent of bomb threats, the New York Times wrote.
Not everyone seems to be glad to see Digidog again. Albert Fox Cahn, govt director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP), mentioned: “The NYPD is popping unhealthy science fiction into horrible policing. New York deserves actual safety, Not a knockoff robocop. A harmful police stunt that wastes public cash invading the privateness of New Yorkers.”