Massachusetts State Police have become the first law enforcement agency in the US to use robotic dogs, in a first that has critics warning that the machines could be weaponized in the future.
WBUR News reports that the metal dogs, made by Boston Dynamics, have been leased to the police and used on multiple occasions in active law enforcement incidents since August.
The robots, named ‘SPOT’, have been used as ‘mobile remote observation devices’ according to records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.
Details on their use are scant, but the documents suggest that the dogs were used to provide troopers with images of suspicious devices or reveal where suspects were hiding.
Video of MA State Police testing the dogs shows one of the robots opening a door, mirroring footage released previously by Boston Dynamics.
“Robot technology is a valuable tool for law enforcement because of its ability to provide situational awareness of potentially dangerous environments,” state police spokesman David Procopio told reporters.
Boston Dynamics vice president for business development Michael Perry confirmed that the machines were leased to law enforcement…