Robot Dog Shot Three Times During Raid

Ping Ping Ping

A Boston Dynamics SPOT robot deployed by Massachusetts state police was shot three times.

As the Associated Press reports, the robotics company believes it's the first time one of its robotic dogs has been shot.

The remotely-controlled quadruped, a part of the police department's bomb squad, was deployed earlier this month to track down a suspect who had barricaded themself in a Barnstable, Massachusetts home.

The robot was able to traverse the stairs, check both of the home's floors and eventually find the suspect in the basement — who knocked it over and shot it three times with a rifle.

"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," state police said in a statement, suggesting that the robot, dubbed Roscoe, may have stopped a police officer from getting shot.

Massachusetts State Police
Massachusetts State Police

Hide and Seek

Images released by the Massachusetts State Police Department show the gunmetal gray robot with several gunshot "wounds," denting the its metal shell and stripping off paint.

According to the AP, police have since sent the robot to Boston Dynamics to have the bullets removed.

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

Despite the successful reconnaissance mission, the use of robot dogs by police departments has been met with a barrage of criticism.

Since at least late 2019, police departments in the US have started to make use of the platform to spare the lives of officers in the line of fire and in bomb situations — or at least that's their purported purpose.

The New York City police department's use of the robot police dogs was almost immediately met with outrage, with civil liberties advocates decrying their use as unethical and a gross violation of personal privacy.

The experiment didn't last, with the department firing the robotic dog after about a year. New York City mayor Eric Adams, however, reinstituted the "dystopian surveillance drone" in April 2023.

"The NYPD is turning bad science fiction into terrible policing," Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, told the New York Times at the time. "New York deserves real safety, not a knockoff RoboCop."

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