- The FDNY used a robot dog named Spot to assess the structural integrity of the Lower Manhattan parking garage that collapsed, killing one person and injuring five.
- Spot was used in place of human firefighters due to the unstable conditions of the building.
- The 70-pound robot pup was specifically designed for search-and-rescue missions and has been given a new coat of paint resembling a Dalmatian.
The FDNY deployed a robot dog to assess the destruction caused by the Lower Manhattan parking garage collapse that occurred on Tuesday, killing one person and injuring five others. The department used a 70-pound robot pup named Spot, which was purchased from Boston Dynamics a year ago for search-and-rescue missions.
Due to the unstable conditions of the nearly 100-year-old building at 57 Ann St., human firefighters were not sent in, and instead, Spot was used to assess the structural integrity of the rubble. Spot’s ability to move through unstable conditions and confined spaces makes it an ideal tool for search-and-rescue missions. The robot dog has been given a fresh coat of paint with spots resembling the markings of a Dalmatian, the OG dog breed of firehouses.
However, not everything went according to plan, as a video taken at the scene shows the robot dog falling on its side when it tried to climb over a slab of broken concrete. Despite this, Mayor Eric Adams praised the use of the robotic dog, stating, “Thank God we had the robotic dog that was able to go in the building. This is ideally what we talk about not sending a human being inside a building as unstable.”
The FDNY is not the only department to use robotic dogs like Spot for search-and-rescue missions. The NYPD recently announced the assembly of a robotic K-9 unit of three remote-controlled pooches called “Digidogs.” However, the use of these robots has faced criticism from some, with social media users comparing them to something out of a “Black Mirror” episode.
The use of robotic dogs like Spot in search-and-rescue missions is a clear example of the innovative technology that can be used to aid our first responders in dangerous situations. It is essential to prioritize the safety of our firefighters, and the use of these robots helps ensure that they do not put their lives on the line unnecessarily. The unstable conditions of the building in Lower Manhattan made it clear that sending in human firefighters was not an option, and Spot was a viable solution.
While the use of robots in emergency situations is a step in the right direction, some have criticized their use, claiming that they are too futuristic and could lead to a future where machines replace humans. This criticism is misguided as robots like Spot are only tools that can help our first responders in challenging situations. They are not meant to replace human firefighters but to aid them in their work.
Furthermore, the use of robots like Spot is not new, and similar technology has been used in the military and law enforcement for years. It is time that our first responders have access to this technology, especially as it continues to evolve and become more sophisticated.
I think the use of robotic dogs like Spot is a positive step towards ensuring the safety of our first responders and aiding them in their work. As technology continues to advance, we should embrace these tools and use them to improve the efficiency and safety of our emergency response teams.