The Massachusetts State Police is the first law enforcement agency in the country to use Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, Spot. The state’s bomb squad had Spot on loan for three months, from August to November, and it was used as a “mobile remote observation device” to provide images of suspicious devices or potentially hazardous locations, WBUR reported. The robot was deployed twice, in addition to testing.
Spot can go where wheeled robots cannot, while carrying loads far beyond what aerial drones can carry, according to Boston Dynamics. The robot has a swappable battery with runtime of 90 minutes. It has 360-degree vision and uses cameras to avoid obstacles and people. It is advertised for use in the construction, oil and gas, entertainment, and public safety industries.
WBUR reported that the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is concerned about police use of robots and is urging the state police to set a policy about robotics use.