LA City Council approves ‘Spot’ robot dog donated to LAPD – DailyNews


The divisive Los Angeles City Council approved the donation. “Robot dogs” for the police department on Tuesday, May 23, following protests from activists who claim the controversial technology will be used for illegal surveillance. especially with people of color

In a vote of 8 to 4, the House accepted a $278,000 donation to the police department. “Unmanned Ground Vehicles,” commonly known as robot dogs. from the non-profit Los Angeles Police Foundation.

Council members Heather Hutt, Curren Price, Nithya Raman and Hugo Soto-Martinez. vote against Two other council members, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Eunisses Hernandez, were absent. Hernandez expressed concern about the use of robotic dogs at previous meetings.

Proponents of robotic dogs that resemble four-legged dogs and can operate in different terrains. He said the technology could save lives by sending robots into dangerous situations, such as obstacles or conflicts. or in situations where explosives may be involved.

Opponents of robot dogs worry that law enforcement agencies will use the technology for inappropriate surveillance purposes. and threatening people

Critics have expressed skepticism about how the technology is used. Despite repeated assurances from LAPD representatives that the robots will only be used in SWAT events, situations involving hazardous materials, they are not. or search and rescue operations only

Earlier, LAPD officials said Robots will not be equipped with weapons or facial recognition technology. and will not be used for reconnaissance operations.

Brendan Schulman, vice president of policy and government relations for Boston Dynamics, which produced the L.A. City Council-approved robotic dog “Spot.” Told the council on Tuesday the company’s goal was that technology could help people.

“There is no mysterious ending game here. We started 30 years ago to build robots that would help humanity,” Shulman said as some members of the council scoffed.

Chulman gave another example of a mass shooting in another city where a police officer shot a man in the chest. Sending robot dogs in first Officers can see that the shooter has dropped the gun and is in danger. and they sent medical staff

“If they don’t send robots in to understand the situation, to see if people One was disarmed but risked his life, that person would have died today,” Schulman said.


But not all council members are convinced of the need for robotic dogs in LA.

Soto-Martinez Reiterated the point of a few people at the meeting, saying that although the robot dog offered to the LAPD this time was a donation But he worries there will be permanent costs to the city due to the ongoing training of officers. to use technology

Some citizens refer to the LAPD’s purchase of drones, a project they say has expanded. They expressed concern that the addition of robotic dogs to the LAPD’s toolbox would lead to a military presence.

Soto-Martinez Notice the backlash that arose after the New York Police Department in 2021 used robot dogs in public shelters. and may use it at the US-Mexico border crossing He said he could not support bringing the technology to LA.

“This item is being seen as merely accepting donations. But it actually represents an extension of the current scope of treatment and surveillance,” said Soto-Martinez.

he called it “Automation is very disruptive to law enforcement, which sets a dangerous precedent.”

Although none of the council members had voted to accept donations, the robot dogs commented on Tuesday. But some explained their stance at a council debate on March 7. At that meeting, council member Traci Park said that robots “It will increase the security of law enforcement agencies and Angelenos by providing police officers. with situational awareness technology that is sorely needed in very high-risk situations.”

LAPD Deputy Chief David Kowalski told the council ahead of the May 23 vote that the department has received positive feedback from law enforcement agencies in California that use robot dogs, including the Oakland Police Department, which the department called “games.” changer” and “risk mitigator” – as well as the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department and the Bay Area Fremont Police Department.

Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky proposed a successful amendment to a motion to accept robotic dog donations, which ordered the LAPD to produce a quarterly report on the use of robotic dogs. including information about where and why it was used. The results of the installation and any problems that occur.

The revised motion also stated that the city council plans to monitor the project closely and may amend its deployment policies or suspend the project in the future.

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