The Massachusetts State Police deployed Spot alongside its bomb squad for 90 days to see how the robotic K9 would perform in a real-world scenario, using Spot on two different occasions.
“Massachusetts State Police have used robots to assist in responses to hazardous situations for many years, deploying them to examine suspicious items and to clear high-risk locations where armed suspects may be present,” Massachusetts State Police director of media communications Dave Procopio said in a statement to CNN. “As part of our continual emphasis on examining the application of new technologies to our mission, we recently completed a test program of the Boston Dynamics robot known as ‘Spot.'”
The ACLU has express concern about Spot and how it will be used, citing past examples of how dogs and technology have both been used to harm civil liberties. In spite of the concern, Boston Dynamics’ lease agreement specifically covers using Spot in dangerous situations, such as investigating a suspicious package without putting humans in harm’s way. In addition to police work, the company also envisions it being used in high-risk occupations, such as mining.
While police departments, military, mining and other high-risk industries often employ robots, few existing designs offer the speed, mobility and nimbleness of Spot, whose claim-to-fame is its near-doglike range of motion.