Crime & Justice

New York presents new robots that will help on police patrols

New York, Apr 11 (EFE).- New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the city’s Police Department (NYPD) on Tuesday unveiled several robots that will help police officers keep the Big Apple safe, including Digidog, a police dog robot that was withdrawn by the previous mayor in the past after receiving criticism of it as a police tool.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a press conference in Times Square that the city was announcing “three new police technologies” – namely, the K5 Autonomous Security Robot, the Digidog robot and the StarChase GPS accessory.

The city has purchased two Digidogs with various accessories – including a gas detector – for $750,000 and will lease the two other technologies for $1,750 per month to conduct a pilot study that will begin this summer.

Calling himself a “computer geek” and saying he is looking for the best technology for New York City, Adams added that “We are scanning the globe on finding technology that will ensure this city is safe for New Yorkers, visitors and whomever is here in the city. This is the beginning of a series of rollouts.”

The K5 robot – looking somewhat like a big artillery shell – is equiped with several cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence, which will allow it to provide real time information to officers.

This technology already has been used in several areas in the US and has helped, among other things, in shootings at shopping malls.

According to the NYPD, after six months of testing, the robot will patrol not only Times Square but also the city’s metro stations.

The StarChase system functions by locating via GPS – whether manually or after being deployed from a vehicle – a fleeing vehicle, and this tool allows officers to track that vehicle in real time.

The technology will enable NYPD officers to follow the vehicle remotely, thus avoiding getting involved in a multicar chase through the streets of New York.

Meanwhile, Digidog – since it has already successfully completed its pilot study – will be incorporated into the NYPD very soon.

“Digidog is out of the pound,” said Adams, who was formerly a police officer. “Digidog is now part of the toolkit that we are using.”

This yellow robot manufactured by Boston Dynamics and weighing 32 kg (70 pounds) received so much criticism in the past from different civil rights defenders that the prior New York administration – headed by former Mayor Bill de Blasio – stopped using it and it was handed off to the Fire Department.

Adams said that if a person has a loved one who has been kidnapped, they will be thankful that this machine, which walks on four “paws” and has an extendable arm with a camera where the head of a dog would normally be, is on the job.

The NYPD emphasized that none of its tools are equipped with facial recognition.

EFE –/bp

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