- Robot dogs could potentially patrol the US-Mexico border, capturing evidence in remote areas.
- The CEO of their manufacturer, Ghost Robotics, said they would not “take over anything.”
- The project remains in the research and development phase, CNN reported.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released images of robot dogs, which they are testing with the possible aim of having them patrol the US-Mexico border.
Officials have not said when the robot dogs — known as automated ground surveillance vehicles — might be operating.
CNN reported the news on Saturday. The CNN report followed an article published earlier this month on the DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate’s website. The article said the machines could “potentially be a new best friend for CBP personnel in the field.”
Brenda Long, S&T directorate program manager, said in the article: “The southern border can be an inhospitable place for man and beast, and that is exactly why a machine may excel there.”
The CEO of Ghost Robotics, which developed the machines, told CNN that while the company is focusing on “doing the right thing” for national security, there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Jiren Parikh added that “there’s no way they’re going to be taking over anything,” because they only have a four-hour operating capacity. They also need to be remotely controlled by a human.
CNN reported that the new technology hasn’t been welcomed by an umbrella group called the Southern Border Communities Coalition.
Vicki Gaubeca, the director of the group, told CNN: “This really felt like a slap in the face. There are other technologies that they’re already using that we feel like they should cut back on, and yet they’re adding on Another type of surveillance technology that’s frightening, to be honest.”
Ghost Robotics did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside of normal working hours.
Parikh told CNN that robot dogs on the US border aren’t part of a military effort. “It’s just another sensor carrier … It’s really for sensing around the environment. It’s not really interacting with people,” he said.
Robot dogs have faced backlash previously. Another technology company, Boston Dynamics, had its $94,000 contract with the NYPD canceled over concerns about its robot dogs’ role in policing.
In that case, some observers linked to their use to police funding cuts and the increased militarization of policing in general.