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The robot-dog Spot lay off by the New York Police Department

Robot-dog Spot: A versatile robot

Spot can carry loads weighing up to 14 kg on its back.

It stands up when it falls and works in temperatures between -20 and 45 degrees Celsius.

It has a range of 90 minutes and a maximum speed of 4.8 km/h.

The robot can move according to the instructions given to it, avoid obstacles and maintain its balance in extreme circumstances.

The robot-dog Spot lay off by the New York Police Department


It is also water resistant, making it a fairly versatile work tool.

Up to four modules can be connected to its back to make it perform different tasks.

For example, a camera, a clamp or an antenna can be connected to it to communicate with it over longer distances.

Beyond receiving commands, Spot is not designed to interact with humans.

Boston Dynamics therefore wants it to serve in controlled environments, which explains their decision to offer it only to companies for now.

The New York Police Department will do without a robot dog.:

It confirmed Thursday to AFP that it has ended its contract with the company Boston Dynamics.

Which manufactures these machines, whose use had worried part of the population.

The head of intelligence and counter-terrorism of the New York Police Department, John Miller, told that the dog would be returned to Boston Dynamics.

And that the decision was related to the fact that the robot had become a "target" for its opponents.

The contract was originally set to expire in August.


Robotic dogs do not react to human provocation

Like their flesh-and-blood counterparts, SpotMini canine robots, designed by Boston Dynamics, can be well trained.

At least that's what a simulation in a specific context reveals: a bickering over control of a door.

After demonstrating last week that its quadrupedal robots could easily open doors.

The robotics company has shown that they can also remain unmoved by human provocation.

New video released by Boston Dynamics shows a SpotMini applying itself to open a door.

When a man approaches with a field hockey stick and shoves it.

The robot wobbles, but continues to open the door with a claw-like arm.

The man then closes the door and pulls the canine robot back with a rope that acts as a tail for the robotic animal.

The SpotMini struggles for a few seconds to get loose, then the man capitulates.

The robot then gets back in front of the door and opens it without any problem.

This type of simulation is crucial to the development of the canine robot, according to Boston Dynamics.

For the company, the attack is a "test to verify SpotMini's ability to adapt to disturbances during a door opening."

The loss of a part during the attack "does not irritate or injure the robot."


End of the game for the robot-dog at the NYPD

This new demonstration of the capabilities of robotics and artificial intelligence is raising some concern.

Declaring a report written by 26 experts warns against the use of drones or robots for terrorist purposes.

The police had acquired, on lease, the robot's copy last year.

"This dog is going to save lives, protect people and protect officers, and that's our goal…"

Said Frank Digiacomo, head of field technical assistance to the local ABC station in December;

The robots, whose standard model is called Spot by Boston Dynamics, are capable of navigating rough terrain.

Also, they are avoiding obstacles, filming and gathering information about their surroundings.

They can also be equipped with a movable arm, attached to where a real dog's head would be.

Which was not the case with the NYPD's example.


Previous cases that upset the public

In February, during a police intervention, the mechanical dog was sent to scout a Bronx building.

That is after receiving a call that a burglar had barricaded himself in an apartment.

He didn't find anything, but the images caused a stir.

Some have raised the risk that this robot could present as a potential surveillance tool.

The quadruped, which Boston Dynamics is offering for $74,500, was seen again in mid-April in Manhattan during hostage situation, where it was not used.

Videos of the dog walking on the sidewalk once again set social networks ablaze.

Some people saw it as an illustration of the aggressive methods of the New York City police.

Especially towards minorities, as the intervention took place in a housing project.


Robots, a danger for society?

Nothing was found, but the images caused a stir, with many people talking about the risk that this robot could present as a potential surveillance tool.

On Twitter, the politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez protested that this robot is being tested in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

 Where funding for education, health or housing should be a priority.

Other voices, especially on Twitter, are speaking out against the dangers of robots.

 Which could be used to monitor the population and even be equipped with tasers.

Daniel Valls of Freedom News TV filmed the robot in action and exclaimed "this thing is creepy".

Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union (Aclu) said that using a robot to do police work could have implications for bias.

Also, for mobile surveillance, hacking, and privacy…

He also worries that Digidog could be combined with other technologies to become a weapon.

It seems inevitable, however, that this kind of robot will be used more and more in the future, especially when it prevents human casualties.

Many people saw it as an illustration of methods considered aggressive on the part of the New York City police.

Particularly towards minorities, since the intervention had taken place in low-income housing (HLM).

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