The Massachusetts State Police (MSP) has been secretly testing the Boston Dynamics Spot robot, since April 2019. The newly obtained documents by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts revealed that the police in this state have a close relationship with Boston Dynamics.
Although the ‘Spot‘ copies are not yet equipped with any type of weapon, the robot has participated in at least two police “incidents.” No more details on these specific cases were disclosed, but it is very likely that the people of Massachusetts will see more of these specimens in action. It is only a matter of time for many experts in robotics, as well as other police agencies in the rest of the country, to follow them.
After several months of testing in the laboratories, Spot was officially made available to companies in September of this year. According to the company’s statement, the first customers are already testing Spot to monitor construction sites, provide remote inspection in gas, oil and energy facilities, and in public safety.
In videos that Boston Dynamics has shared, these automated dogs are capable of reaching speeds of up to 5 km/h; they have cameras that allow them 360-degree visibility. They can carry up to 14 kilograms of payload, and the battery lasts for 90 minutes. The dog-shaped robot can even open doors with a special arm that extends from its head.
Although it may seem that a world of robot police still belongs to science fiction stories, the reality is that the police in developed countries like the United States have been using robots for years, for example, via remote control in anti-bomb operations. However, robots with artificial intelligence represent an evolution towards that future that we all imagine, in which the most dangerous tasks of public safety will be carried out by robots.
Recently, HoloBuilder has announced the partnership with Boston Dynamics to develop a Spot robot, equipped with its virtual reality software, for on-site inspection at a large construction site.