New York police break up with a scary robot dog

(New York) La police de New York se passera de robot-chien: elle a confirmé jeudi à l’AFP avoir mis un terme à son contrat avec la société Boston Dynamics, qui fabrique ces engins, dont l’utilisation avait inquiété une partie population.


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John Miller, chief of New York Police intelligence and counterterrorism, told The New York Times That the dog will be returned to Boston Dynamics, and that the decision is tied to the robot becoming a “target” for its opponents.

The contract was initially scheduled to expire in August.

Police obtained a rented copy of the robot last year. “This dog will save lives, protect people, protect customers, and that’s our goal,” said Frank DiCiacomo, Technical Assistance Director for Field Interventions, at the local chapter of ABC in December.

These robots, whose standard model is called Spot by Boston Dynamics, are able to navigate rough terrain, avoid obstacles, photograph and collect information about their surroundings. They can also be fitted with a movable arm, attached to where a real dog’s head is, which was not the case with the NYPD version.

In February, during a police intervention, a mechanical dog was sent to explore a building in the Bronx after receiving a call indicating that a thief had holed up in an apartment.

Nothing was found there, but the images caused an uproar, and some pointed to the danger this robot might pose as a potential surveillance tool.

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The quad, offered by Boston Dynamics for $ 74,500, was seen again in mid-April, in Manhattan, during the hostage-taking, during which it was not used. Videos of the dog walking on the sidewalk sparked social media once again.

It was then considered by some as an example of methods deemed by the New York Police Department to be aggressive, especially with regard to minorities, in which the interference occurred in a public housing unit.

As for John Miller, in an interview with The New York TimesThese criticisms were unjustified, but “people have found the little phrases and the language that make them evil.”

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