Thursday, June 17

Goodbye to the future: NYPD shuts down its robot dog plan, after shower of criticism from politicians

Back to traditional human patrolling.

Photo: Andrés Correa Guatarasma / Courtesy

The costly and innovative robot dog program (Digidogs) that NYPD was testing in a trial phase did not last long, praising that it would save the lives of officers and civilians by reducing risks and costs.

It was enough that one of them was used in the controversial arrest of his hispanic in Midtown East (Manhattan) in the middle of this month, for politicians and activists to finish sealing their fate. Specifically, the video of the arrest by Luis González, followed by one of these robots when leaving a building handcuffed NYCHA, the complaints got worse.

NYPD confirmed Wednesday that it had terminated an agreement with Boston Dynamics to rent the four-legged police robot. “The contract has been terminated and the dog will be returned,” said a spokesman.

Police officers detailed the The New York Times that the Department had terminated its contract for $ 94,000 dollars with the robot dog manufacturer on April 22 in response to questions from Democratic Councilors Corey Johnson (Speaker of the House) and Ben Kallos.

The lease agreement, which was scheduled to end in August, was cut short after the canine robot became a “target” this month, said John Miller, New York Police Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism. I affirm that people were misusing the show to fuel discussions about race and surveillance.

After the incident two weeks ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a strong criticism of the program, saying “I don’t know what is being done to prove it, I will certainly speak to the (NYPD) commissioner about it. I don’t want people to feel like something is happening they don’t know about. So we will solve it ”.

Other politicians are also unhappy with this NYPD innovation, including the national congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“I think it really talks about skewed priorities of his leadership ”(from NYPD), the State Senator (D) Brad Hoylman, criticizing that to deploy the expensive robot dog anywhere undermined relations between the police and the community, but especially in poor neighborhoods where residents may already mistrust the authorities. They “They deserve a vigilance that is humane”, affirmed to Fox News.

The 70-pound robot was unveiled by the NYPD for testing in February. Each has an original value of $ 74,000 if purchased. It has two-way communication and artificial intelligence, using lights and cameras that allow human agents to see “their surroundings in real time”.

In your defense, the NYPD recalled that it had already used other robots in hostage and hazardous materials situations for more than four decades. “This allows the police department operates with minimal risk to the officers involved ”, Keith Taylor, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a 26-year veteran of the NYPD, said in February. “And the tactical value of that is immeasurable.” But just two months later, the futuristic project is already part of NYC history.

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