By Ken Macon - April 14, 2023
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the NYPD have reintroduced the Digidog, a $74,000 robot that resembles a dog, which was paused by the previous mayor. They also announced the rollout of two other technologies they claimed would help with public safety.
Digidog, first introduced in 2021, is equipped with a communications system, cameras and lights.
It was retired after civil rights advocates also deemed it aggressive policing.
“A few loud people were opposed to it and we took a step back. That is not how I operate,” Mayor Adams said at a press briefing. “We are scanning the globe to find technology that will assure this city is safe.”
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said Digidog is testament to the NYPD’s history of using technology to “safeguard a modern city,” noting that New York was among the first cities to adopt the 911 emergency call system and to take mugshots and fingerprints.
“The use of these technologies will be transparent, consistent and always done in collaboration with the people that we serve,” Sewell said.
He added that the NYPD would be piloting two other technologies, the StarChase GPS system and K5 Autonomous Security Robot.
The StarChase system attaches a GPS tag, through a vehicle mounted or hand-held device, to a fleeing vehicle. The tag helps track the vehicle remotely, and helps the police avoid high-risk vehicle pursuits in crowded areas.
The K5 robot, equipped with multiple sensors and cameras will be used to patrol Times Square and Times Square subway station in the summer.
“This K5 robot provides real time situational awareness and actionable intelligence to first responders and also provides a physical crime deterrence,” said Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey.
Sewell added: “We want the public to know that the use of these technologies will be transparent, consistent, and always done in collaboration with the people that we serve. And as with every NYPD initiative, we will continuously evaluate their use and impact on our city. Our job is to fight crime and keep people safe. And these tools are significant steps forward in that vital mission.”