Robot Dog Takes A Bullet To Protect Police

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Roscoe, a robot dog deployed by the Massachusetts State Police, was shot while aiding officers during a standoff on Cape Cod. The incident, which took place on March 6, marks the first time a robot dog has been shot while on duty. It is also the first time one of Boston Dynamics’ famous Spot robots has been in a perilous situation.

Deploying Police Robots

The standoff occurred in the Hyannis section of Barnstable as officers responded to a 911 call reporting a person holding someone at knifepoint.

The situation escalated when the suspect, identified as Justin Moreira, opened fire on officers and a SWAT vehicle upon their arrival. With the suspect barricaded inside a home, the standoff led to the evacuation of local schools and took hours to resolve.

To safely apprehend Moreira, state police deployed three robots, including Roscoe, to locate his position in the building. Roscoe, equipped with advanced mobility and surveillance capabilities, cleared multiple floors before finding Moreira in the basement, armed with a rifle. Despite being knocked down by the suspect, Roscoe continued its mission, only to be shot three times.

Crucial Situational Awareness

The shooting resulted in a loss of communication with its pilot. The police shared images showing Roscoe wounded but standing firm, a testament to its resilience and dedication to the mission.

Despite the setback, deploying robots like Roscoe proved instrumental in providing crucial situational awareness and minimizing the risk to human officers.

As stated by the state police, the use of mobile robots like Roscoe prevented the need for human operators to enter potentially dangerous environments, averting a more severe confrontation. Moreira’s subsequent court appearance revealed the severity of the situation, with authorities disclosing that he had fired over 30 rounds during the standoff.

Taken To Boston Dynamics

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Following the incident, Roscoe was taken to its manufacturer, Boston Dynamics, for repairs and assessment. Images shared by law enforcement indicated the robot dog was shot in its side and “neck.” In a statement, the company emphasized that its robots are designed to assist first responders and keep them out of harm’s way.

Value In Volatile Situations

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“We are proud that Spot safely supported the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad during the recent Barnstable incident involving an armed and barricaded suspect, and we are relieved that the only casualty that day was our robot,” the email said. “It’s a great example of how mobile robots like Spot can be used to save lives.”

In a blog post addressing the incident, Boston Dynamics reiterated the value of their Spot robots in volatile situations like hostage scenarios. However, the company also reiterated that its robots cannot be turned into weapons. Spot units can only give officials a close-up view of situations without endangering human lives.

Versatile Robots

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Boston Dynamics’ Spot robots are versatile quadruped robots designed for various applications. Spot is a compact, agile robot that can navigate different terrains, map its environment, sense and avoid obstacles, climb stairs, open doors, and even fetch items. These robots are fully electric and equipped with features like a 3D vision system, obstacle avoidance, and the ability to handle payloads of about 30 lbs.

More To Come?


Spot can be remote-controlled by operators while also performing tasks autonomously.

Boston Dynamics continues to enhance Spot’s capabilities by adding new features, hardware upgrades and expanding its technology to cater to different industries and applications.

The company aims to offer Spot for tasks like inspecting industrial sites, hazardous missions, and deliveries.

Source: NBC Boston

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