Boston dynamics’ latest robot dog named Spot has been making headlines recently, with a video of the pack of robot dogs performing synchronized dance moves and backflips going viral. However, these robots can be used for more than just making popular videos.
Massachusetts State Police force officially became the first police department to make use of Spot. The loan documented agreement between Boston Dynamics and Massachusetts Police force shared by WBUR, states that the robots will be used “for the purpose of evaluating the robot’s capabilities in law enforcement applications, particularly remote inspection of potentially dangerous environments which may contain suspects.”
Mass. State Police got to use @BostonDynamics’ Spot the robot dog for three months this year. That’s raising questions about what kind of policies there should be about how police can use robots. https://t.co/SVTjc0J2bJ pic.twitter.com/px22Ooj5Yr
— ally jarmanning (@allyjarmanning) November 25, 2019
News of the tests was first revealed in documents obtained by the ACLU, stating that Spot was used for ‘non-weaponised’ purposes from August 7 to November 5. However, the tests have raised concerns over transparency when it comes to law enforcement’s use of intelligent robots technology.
“All too often, the deployment of these technologies happens faster than our social, political, or legal systems react,” said Kade Crockford from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Boston Dynamics describe Spot as highly durable with an IP54 rating and the ability to operate in temperatures varying from 45°C down to -20°C. Spot also features an arm with a payload capacity of 13kg and a 360-degree field of view.
While this is this first time Spot has been used by an office police department in the US, law enforcement has entertained the idea of using technologies like drones to scope out potential areas of interest. It seems as though all signs are pointing to police forces becoming more and more automated as the technology improves.
Feature image: Twitter/@BostonDynamics