A robotic police dog named ‘Roscoe’ created by Boston Dynamics took a bullet and helped avert a fatal shooting, police say

A robotic police dog named ‘Roscoe’ created by Boston Dynamics took a bullet and helped avert a fatal shooting, police say
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A SPOT police robot made by Boston Dynamics that police in Massachusetts say a suspect shot three times during a SWAT standoff.
A SPOT police robot made by Boston Dynamics that Massachusetts police say a suspect shot three times during a SWAT standoff.

  • Massachusetts state police say a suspect shot a Boston Dynamics robot dog during a SWAT standoff.
  • The company said it was the first time one of its robot dogs took a bullet.
  • Police reform advocates have criticized robotic police dogs in the past for being overpriced and ineffective.

Man’s best friend (in Robot form) would take a bullet for you, apparently.

State troopers used three robots developed by Boston Dynamics to flush out a suspect hiding in a residence after shooting at police in Barnstable, Massachusetts earlier this month, state police said.

One of them was a four-legged SPOT model named “Roscoe,” according to a police news release.

The suspect knocked over Roscoe and shot the robot three times with a rifle when he found it roaming around inside his home.

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He then opened fire on two bomb-disarming robots outside, hitting an above-ground pool before police bombarded the house with tear gas and apprehended the man, according to the release.

“The incident provided a stark example of the benefits of mobile platforms capable of opening doors and ascending stairs in tactical missions involving armed suspects,” police said.

Police use of robot “dogs” has faced scrutiny from critics and police reform advocates who say they are overpriced and ineffective. The SPOT model retails at just under $75,000 at its base model. Former New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio called the robots from Boston Dynamics “creepy” and “alienating” when asked about the NYPD’s use of the dogs in 2021, according to The New York Times.

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The discourse around the robots picked up in August 2023 when a naked man was captured on video dragging a Houston Police robot — also made by Boston Dynamics — into his house during a SWAT standoff, easily overpowering the device.

Massachusetts state police say their robot dog provided “critically important room clearance and situational awareness capabilities” during the standoff and prevented police from needing to send humans or real dogs into the house, keeping officers out of the line of fire.

Boston Dynamics did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider. The company told The Associated Press in a statement that this is the first of its robot dogs that has been shot.

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“We are relieved that the only casualty that day was our robot,” the company said. “It’s a great example of how mobile robots like Spot can be used to save lives.”

Police sent the robot to Boston Dynamics to remove the bullets, and the company will send a new model to the state police, according to the report.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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