New York City public security authorities plan to deploy robot dogs. The city’s fire department (FDNY) will use them for search and rescue missions.
The fire service has already purchased two of the $75,000 Boston Dynamics robot dogs, according to the NY Times. The robots will be used in challenging rescue operations.
It’s also a unique deployment than the ones the police department bought last year. The NYPD experienced immediate backlash after blue police dogs were photographed at crime scenes.
New York City terminated its contract with Boston Dynamics and discontinued the program, while some elected authorities considered prohibiting their usage by law enforcement. The unexpected termination happened when a video of the dog monitoring a Manhattan housing project went viral.
Brad Hoylman, a state senator, represents the district where the incident occurred. He believed that deploying the robot dog anywhere would jeopardize police-community ties, particularly in a public housing complex where inhabitants may already distrust the police.
“They deserve policing that is humane and human,” Hoylman said.
According to the New York Times, how the FDNY intends to employ the robots may help transform the public’s image of them.
The first noticeable difference could be their color. The NYPD painted them blue to look more like police department tools, but the FDNY is experimenting with yellow ones.
Boston Dynamics offers robots as a public safety tool for assessing emergency conditions and keeping people out of vulnerable positions. It refers to the robot dog as Spot and claims that the agile robot quickly climbs stairs and crosses rugged terrain.
According to the company, it may be used in collaboration with specialized sensors to detect radioactive and nuclear material, toxic gases, and other hazardous elements.