New York City is moving ahead with its plan to use expensive robots to help police the city. The use of the robodogs was originally announced in April 2021, but the city canceled the program after public backlash.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, New York City Mayor Eric Adams exclaimed that “digidog is out of the pound, digidog is now part of the toolkit we are using.” In regards to the previous administrations canceling the program, Adams noted 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 is best for the city."
NYPD Commissioner Keechan Sewell said that “the use of this technology will be transparent, consistent, and always done in collaboration with people who we serve,” and stressed, “to safeguard our modern city in a forward-looking world, it is essential that our officers are equipped with the tools, training and technology necessary to do that job safely and effectively,"
During the showcase there were three new technologies highlighted. The StarChase GPS, The Digidog, and the K5 Autonomous Security Robot (ASR), according to NBC 4.
StarChase is a GPS system that is shot by a handheld or vehicle-mounted launcher, which shoots a tracking device onto a vehicle during car chases. The launcher has a price tag of $5,000, and each bullet runs at $500.
The Digidog (“Spot”), developed by BostonDynamics, is a camera system mounted to a four-legged robot designed to inspect situations that may pose a threat to officers. Adams said this will “undoubtedly save lives, both of police and the public.” The Digidog cost roughly $75,000 each.
Last, the K5 Autonomous Security Robot (ASR) is an automated robot that patrols dedicated routes relaying any issues back to first responders. The robots are reported to cost about $70,000 a year to lease.
One of the biggest fears previously noted among residents was that they “don’t want to live in an episode of Black Mirror.” In one 2017 episode titled “Metalhead” a robot dog murdered a group of people in a gruesome scene.
Adams said he “believe(s) that technology is here; we cannot be afraid of it."
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