Los Angeles City Council approves ‘robot dog’ donation to police

A four-legged “robot dog” is the newest member of the Los Angeles Police Department after the City Council voted to approve its acquisition on Tuesday.

The robot – a quadruped unmanned ground vehicle called “Spot” – is manufactured by Boston Dynamics and is valued at nearly $280,000.

Spot was first offered as a gift to the LAPD’s Metropolitan Division by the Los Angeles Police Foundation in March. The foundation is a nonprofit group that has “awarded more than $44 million in grants to the LAPD” since 1998, according to its website.

LAPD said the robot will be used in a limited number of scenarios including “incidents involving active shooters, assessment of explosives, hostage situations, natural disasters, hazardous materials assessment, barricaded suspects and search and rescue missions.”

Spot will not be equipped with any weapons systems, facial recognition software or analysis capabilities, officials said. It will also not be used for routine patrol duties or covert surveillance operations.

“Spot”, a quadruped robot developed by Boston Dynamics, is displayed on June 9, 2022, during a presentation to the media at the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, near Naples, southern Italy. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)

Some critics, however, are concerned the robot would be misused to monitor and target people in poor communities of color.

LAPD’s acquisition of Spot follows similar moves from other law enforcement agencies including the New York Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, the St. Petersburg Police Department in Florida, and others.

Officials said LAPD plans to begin using the robot in the coming months following training and testing protocols.

“I am appreciative of the approval today by the majority of the City Council in accepting the donation of the Los Angeles Police Foundation in acquiring this state-of-the-art mechanical robot,” said LAPD Chief Michael Moore. “This technology will allow us to better protect our officers and the community allowing us to use modern technology to de-escalate dangerous situations.”

Soruce : https://ktla.com/news/local-news/city-council-approves-robot-dog-for-los-angeles-police-department/

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