Some things just don’t mesh well together. On their own, for example, dogs and robots are pleasant, sometimes even joyous additions to the human experience. When combined though, they can lead to dystopic results. Despite the uncomfortable optics, “robo-dogs” have experienced a resurgence in recent years, particularly among law enforcement agencies.
These quadruped robots have seen significant technological breakthroughs in recent years that allow them to operate in a variety of terrains and, in some cases, withstand extreme temperatures. And unlike humans, robotic dogs (usually equipped with cameras) don’t need to sleep or eat, which has made them ideal surveillance tools for law enforcement in search of roaming sentries. In other cases, police have experienced using robotic dogs to inspect bombs and enter dangerous buildings ahead of humans.
Outside of law enforcement applications, these dogs are also being used as monitoring tools at construction sites, train yards, and even to monitor radiation levels in Chernobyl. The global inspection robots market, of which robotic dogs play an increasingly prominent role, could be worth $13.94 billion by the end of the decade, according to Allied Market Research.
Boston Dynamics and Ghost Robotics are leading the robotic dog push among law enforcement and have partnered with police forces spanning at least three continents. Scroll through to see which law enforcement agencies have embraced the Black Mirror imagery so far.