by Photo courtesy of Customs and Border Protection

The border patrol has started a pilot project with robots that look like mechanized dogs to remotely monitor areas it considers high risk along the border with Mexico.
The agency reported that it uses the robots in inhospitable areas considered "risky", instead of deploying its agents.
The plan is to "leverage technology, to force a multiplication of the border patrol presence, and to reduce human exposure to life-threatening hazards," said program director Brenda Long.
That means if officers encounter dangerous situations, they'll send mechanized dogs ahead instead of patrol cars.
Long said the tech dogs were designed based on training in simulated scenarios of dangerous situations that patrolmen might encounter at the border.
According to Brett Becker, an operator agent of the robots, the mechanical quadrupeds are very useful because on the border with Mexico, there can be arms smuggling and even "smuggling of weapons of mass destruction."
Patrolmen operate the robots with laptops and remote controls. The patrol can obtain real-time video while using the mechanized dogs, and other information through sensors built into the robots.

In the design phase, the robotic canines "were tested running up hills, down ravines and walking over rocky areas, all while carrying a 20-pound payload," Long said.
They also took them out into the desert, made them use caution around building corners, and tested them for endurance, or battery-using capacity.
Long said the use of mechanized quadrupeds has similar value to border patrol to drones, except that some fly and others move like dogs.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to which the border patrol corresponds, refrained from providing data on the cost of the project.

The design and manufacture of the mechanized dogs were entrusted to the company Ghost Robotics in Philadelphia.

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