New York City police scrap 'creepy' robotic dogs

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Getty Images EntertainmentImage source, Matt Winkelmeyer
Image caption,
The robot - similar to the one pictured - was made by Boston Dynamics

New York City's police (NYPD) say they will stop using robotic dogs following an outcry over their deployment.

The NYPD says it has ended a contract with the Boston Dynamics firm for the remote-controlled Digidogs.

The police have been testing one of the machines since last year, hoping such devices would help "save lives, protect people and protect officers".

But its use sparked a backlash at a time when US policing is being closely scrutinised.

Footage of the robot being deployed in a hostage situation and patrolling public housing went viral.

Critics see the Digidog as emblematic of how overly aggressive police officers could be when dealing with poor communities.

They argue that the incidents have also shown the increased militarisation of police forces across America.

Others say the robotic dog resembled that featured in the dystopian Black Mirror series. In the Metalhead episode, the main characters are seen trying to flee from violent four-legged robots following the collapse of society.

The NYPD now says its contract with Boston Dynamics - reportedly worth $94,000 (£67,420) and initially scheduled to run until August - was terminated earlier this month.

A spokesman for New York City mayor Bill de Blasio told US media he was "glad the Digidog was put down".

"It's creepy, alienating, and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers," he said.

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WATCH: Spot the robot has been shown off gardening, cleaning a home and skipping