WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The NYPD deployed a robotic dog on Tuesday morning when they responded to a home invasion report.
- “Digidog” has been used before by officers to navigate dangerous locations while providing images of the surroundings.
- The robo-dog may also be able to open doors and hold objects when equipped with an attachable arm.
The New York City Police Department deployed its first robotic dog companion on Tuesday morning when they responded to a home invasion report at a Bronx apartment building.
“Digidog,” a robotic dog made by Boston Dynamics, has the ability to run up to three-and-a-half miles per hour, climb up the stairs, and even talk.
According to NYPD spokesperson Sergeant Jessica McRorie, the 70-pound robotic dog is still “in the test phase.”
Digidog “is able to use artificial intelligence to navigate its environment,” McRorie told VICE News in an email. “There are cameras and lights mounted on the device which allow the NYPD to view its surroundings in real-time. Additionally, the device is capable of two-way communication.”
McRorie stated that it was deployed to an apartment in the 47th Precinct to investigate a home invasion. It found that there were no individuals in the area.
The robotic dog received mixed reactions from onlookers that day. Some were amazed, while someone thought it was “creepy.” Still, others wondered where they can get one.
It turns out that you can buy one from Boston Dynamics, but it’ll cost you nearly $75,000.
The NYPD has actually deployed Digidog in several high-risk police encounters before. One incident involved a suspected gunman barricading himself in a Brooklyn home last October. Last December, Digidog was used to contact the five hostages held by two armed gunmen in a Queens home.
NYPD Technical Assistance Response Unit Inspector Frank Digiacomo told ABC-7 Eyewitness News at the time, “People wanted food so we strapped food onto it and sent it into the location.”
Digidog may be able to open doors and move objects in the future when an attachable arm becomes available for it this year.
The Massachusetts State Police also tested its own Digidog, named Spot, in 2019. A WBUR report stated that the officers wanted to make use of its ability to reach dangerous locations while providing them with images of armed suspects or suspicious devices.