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The New York police will do without a robot dog: they confirmed to AFP on Thursday that they had terminated their contract with the company Boston Dynamics, which manufactures these devices, the use of which had worried part of the population.
New York Police intelligence and counterterrorism chief John Miller told The New York Times the dog would be returned to Boston Dynamics, and the decision was linked to the robot becoming a “target. “for his opponents.
The police had acquired, on rental, the copy of the robot last year. “This dog will save lives, protect people and protect agents, and that is our goal,” said in December, the head of technical assistance for field interventions, Frank Digiacomo, at the local branch. from the ABC channel.
These robots, whose standard model is called Spot by Boston Dynamics, are able to navigate rough terrain, avoid obstacles, film and collect information about their surroundings. They can also be equipped with a movable arm, attached to where the head of a real dog would be, which was not the case with the NYPD copy.
In February, during a police intervention, the mechanical dog was sent to scout a building in the Bronx after receiving a call indicating that a burglar had barricaded himself in an apartment.
Nothing had been found there, but the images had caused a stir, some pointing to the risk that this robot could present as a potential surveillance tool.
The quadruped, which Boston Dynamics offers for $ 74,500, was seen again in mid-April, in Manhattan, during a hostage-taking, during which it was not used. Videos of the dog walking the sidewalk have once again ignited social media.
Some saw it as an illustration of the methods considered aggressive by the New York police, especially with regard to minorities, the intervention having taken place in a public housing unit.
For John Miller, interviewed by The New York Times, these criticisms were unwarranted, but “people had found the small sentences and the language to make it an evil object”.