NYPD to Redeploy Robo Police Dogs

NYPD to Redeploy Robo Police Dogs

NYPD to Redeploy Robo Police Dogs

­The New York Police Department is about to get some robotic assistance…for the second time.

Two years ago, the city of New York went through a big PR introducing the public to Boston Dynamics’ “Digidog”, an objectively creepy quadruped robot that kinda-sorta resembles a dog.

Let’s be honest – everything from the robopooch’s thin, spindly legs to its unsettling trot are terrifying, so is it any surprise it wasn’t exactly a hit with the public?

And between its scary visuals and the allegations of police overreach and misallocation of public resources, it was a foregone conclusion the Digidog would be a short-lived experiment (which it was, after the NYPD pulled the plug).

And now, two years later (and possibly two years wiser), the Digidog has inexplicably returned.

Let’s start with the price -- $750,000 for two Digidogs, with robots able to operate autonomously or semi-autonomously.

Course, both of those functions would be severely limited, since the Digidogs would allegedly only be used in life-threatening scenarios – like a bomb threat, where the robodog can trot over and relay visuals to human operators/observers and possibly help disarm or dispose of it.

The Digidogs wouldn’t be funded by taxpayer dollars directly but from asset forfeiture funds, which is potentially even more alarming – personal property acquired by the city through a number of controversial means would help pay for robo police dogs that are anything but universally welcome.

For his part, NYC mayor Eric Adams seemed optimistic about the idea.

“The New York City Police Department has always been on the cutting edge of public safety. They upgrade, evaluate and innovate new ways to protect our city,” he said.

While on the other hand, Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, exclaimed that “The NYPD is turning bad science fiction into terrible policing. New York deserves real safety, not a knockoff robocop.”

The NYPD is also testing out the 5-foot-tall, wheel-based K5 Autonomous Security Robot, which looks like a cross between R2-D2 and the Dalek robots from Dr. Doctor.

Apparently, the K5 bot will be patrolling the Times Square subway station. Can’t see that going wrong in any way, shape, or form.