“Digidog” Unleashed In New York Building Collapse Rescue
Back on April 11th, New York City Mayor Eric Adams introduced two-new robotic dogs to the NYPD and NYFD's arsenal purchased by the city. Previously, former Mayor Bill deBlasio leased a robotic dog for NYC but never allowed the police or fire departments to use the technology because of public-privacy outcries. The former mayor enjoyed an expensive, low-maintenance pet, very much in-line with his tenure.
Last week, Mayor Adams unleashed the city's new "digidog" after a parking garage collapsed in lower Manhattan. The tragedy that killed one man and injured five others continued to be a dangerous situation for rescue and recovery units.
The mayor told Janice Yu of ABC 7-NY, "We knew the structure was still extremely dangerous but we still had a job to do," Adams said. "We needed to accomplish that task without putting first responders in danger." That accomplishment came with the use of "digidog" and drones.
Adams appeared to be taking a shot at his predecessor, deBlasio, when he told the media, "This is not playtime, this is real-time," Adams said. "This is an administration that is not going to be fearful of using everything possible to save the lives of New Yorkers and first responders." Now, one well-followed New York City Emergency Medical Service watchdog on twitter said, in an unconfirmed report, that the robotic dog fell over and had to be rescued. Ed Shanahan of nytimes.com reported that the manufacturer of the robotic dog said this was the first use of the technology in the United States in real-world circumstances.
Regardless of imperfections, technology like the "digidog" and drones will save lives on the ground because of the expeditious information that they provide to rescue units. The ability to transmit video and sound from areas that are structurally unsound or otherwise dangerous will save the lives of the public, police, fire department and rescue units personnel that would not have been possible in years past.