Politics

Homeland Security may use robot dogs to patrol the southern border

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that they are employing the use of Automated Ground Surveillance Vehicles (AGSVs) to help them monitor the southern border. These AGSVs are also called “robot dogs” because of their four-legged appearance.

The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) arm of the Customs and Border Protection agency are at the center of the new tech gadget. The S&T partnered with a company called Ghost Robotics to create robot dogs specifically for the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Tuesday, the S&T posted an article to their blog describing the merits of the robot dog.

“The southern border can be an inhospitable place for man and beast, and that is exactly why a machine may excel there,” said S&T 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.”

According to Gavin Kenneally, the chief product officer at Ghost Robotics, the robot dog is a “rugged, quadruped robot” that “traverses all types of natural terrain including sand, rocks, and hills, as well as human-built environments, like stairs.”

There has been backlash to this idea from critics who feel that it is leading to over-militarization at the border. “I can’t believe our taxes are being used for robot dogs along the border instead of financing visas and severely underfunded immigration courts,” wrote one Twitter user.

Another wrote: “Gives you a glimpse into how humane we are doesn’t it? First drones that kill whole families and now this thing to stop people from coming into the US just so they can live.”

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted the following; “It’s shameful how both parties fight tooth + nail to defend their ability to pump endless public money into militarization,” she wrote, while responding to a tweet about the border-patrol robot dogs. “From tanks in police depts to corrupt military contracts, funding this violence is bipartisan + non-controversial, yet healthcare + housing isn’t. It’s BS.”

Jiren Parikh, CEO of Ghost Robotics, told Forbes magazine he supports Ghost Robotics’ defense customers, such as the US Government, to outfit the robots as they see fit to keep people safe.

While these specific Robot Dogs are not armed, Mr Parikh suggested that robots of this kind in general were no more of an issue in terms of lethal force than, say, drones, since they still needed a human operator to control them.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE VERGE

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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