Robot dogs to patrol U.S. border

A recent press release from the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to employ more robot dogs to aid CBP at the US-Mexico border. If that alone doesn't sound dystopian enough, their reasoning will help: it's mostly due to climate change.

"The southern border can be an inhospitable place for man and beast, and that is exactly why a machine may excel there," said [CBP Science & Technology Directorate] program manager, Brenda Long. "This S&T-led initiative focuses on Automated Ground Surveillance Vehicles, or what we call 'AGSVs.' Essentially, the AGSV program is all about…robot dogs." 

Long's team worked with the U.S. Army's Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) and Ghost Robotics to ensure the robot dogs were prepared to engage in a diverse set of evaluation tasks. The El Paso use-case exercises would require the ability to maneuver in harsh environments, operate in tight spaces and be unphased by high heat, as well as low oxygen conditions—situations that are especially dangerous for CBP agents and officers.


[Agent Brett Becker of the CBP Innovation Team (INVNT)] elaborated on the perils by adding, "Operating out in the desert or mountains, agents and officers have to contend with the rugged terrain, high heat and humidity, and then, of course, they can come across those who wish to do harm. But there are plenty of risks closer to home, too. For instance, when missions take Border Patrol Tactical Operators into towns, cities, or ports, they can encounter hazardous environmental conditions, volatile individuals, or hostile threats. These situations can all be inherently dangerous."

In other words: it's too hot out there for us to employ humans to hunt other humans who are already exposed to the heat as they desperately flee from other dangerous circumstances. Neat!

Feature Article: Robot Dogs Take Another Step Towards Deployment at the Border [US Department of Homeland Security]