It’s the first time one of the robot dogs has been shot while protecting its human partners

Liz Hughes, Editor, IoT World Today

March 27, 2024

2 Min Read
Roscoe, the robot dog, was shot three times during a police standoff in Massachusetts in early March.
Massachusetts State Police

Massachusetts State Police robot dog Roscoe was shot multiple times during a police standoff earlier this month. 

It marks the first time one of the robot dogs has been shot and it happened as it was protecting its human partners during an incident on Cape Cod. 

The incident occurred on March 6 when Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad troopers responded to a Barnstable residence to help a SWAT team with an armed, barricaded subject. 

When officers arrived, they learned the suspect inside fired on officers with a rifle. The troopers then deployed two PacBot 510 tracked robots and Roscoe, a Boston Dynamics robot dog, to help locate the suspect inside the residence. 

State Police say being able to deploy remote-controlled robots helps the team to “safely gather crucial intelligence and provide situational awareness of the suspect and the home’s interior.”

During the remote-controlled deployment, Roscoe searched several areas of the house. Once it cleared a basement closet it encountered the suspect who was armed with a rifle. The suspect knocked Roscoe down, but the robot dog was able to get up because of its self-righting function. Roscoe followed the suspect up the stairs, where, once realizing it was there, he knocked it over and raised his rifle. That was when troopers outside the home lost communication with the robot. 

They later discovered Roscoe was shot three times, rendering it inoperable.

Robot_Dog_Shot_2_bullet_hole.jpg

Massachusetts State Police said the incident is a strong example of the benefits of mobile platforms that can open doors and climb stairs during tactical missions involving armed suspects. 

“In addition to providing critically important room clearance and situational awareness capabilities, the insertion of Roscoe into the suspect residence prevented the need, at that stage of response, from inserting human operators or a real dog, and may have prevented a police officer or K9 partner from being involved in an exchange of gunfire.”

Roscoe was brought to Boston Dynamics to have the bullets removed and be inspected for damage. Boston Dynamics will be replacing Roscoe, but keeping the original for research. 

Roscoe was one of two Boston Dynamics robot dogs used by the MSP Bomb Squad which is assigned to the State Department of Fire Services. 

“The Massachusetts State Police and the Department of Fire Services are committed to the use of advanced technology such as mobile robotic platforms to resolve hostile situations while reducing the threat to human life,” officials said.

About the Author(s)

Liz Hughes

Editor, IoT World Today, IoT World Today

Liz Hughes is an award-winning digital media editor with more than two decades of experience in newspaper, magazine and online media industries. 

A proven digital media strategist and editor, Liz has produced content and offered editorial support and leadership for a variety of web publications, including Fast Company, NBC Boston, Street Fight, QuinStreet, WTWH Media, AOL/Patch Media and Design News.

A skilled social media strategist experienced in developing and maintaining an audience across multiple platforms and brands, Liz also enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise to help businesses small and large.

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