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See 'Spot' Save: Robot Dogs Join NY Fire Department

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The New York Fire Department purchased two Spot robots and plans to use them to venture into hazardous situations.

Credit: Mostafa Bassim/The New York Times

Inside a dimly lit tunnel along a stretch of simulated subway track, one of the New York Fire Department's new dogs showed off a few of its tricks. Lie down. Roll over. Stay.

But the most remarkable things that the two robotic dogs can do were mastered by real dogs long ago: jogging across rugged terrain, hopping over small obstacles and helping keep their masters out of harm's way.

The department, which plans to deploy the robots in the months ahead, is the first fire agency in the country to purchase the 70-pound machines, which cost $75,000 each and are built and sold by Boston Dynamics, a robotics company.

The department plans to use the robots to aid in some of its most precarious search and rescue missions, which might help avoid the furious backlash that erupted when the New York Police Department began using the same technology.

From The New York Times
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