Exclusive: A look at the NYPD's new robot dog

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Eyewitness News got an exclusive look at a new tool the NYPD has at its disposal for responding to emergency situations.

It's a robot dog known as "Digidog."

"This dog is going to save lives, protect people, and protect officers and that's our goal," NYPD Technical Assistance Response Unit Inspector Frank Digiacomo said.

It weighs in at 70 pounds and is able to run about three and a half miles per hour and can even climb stairs.

"This robot is able to use its artificial intelligence to navigate things, very complex environments," NYPD TARU's Deepu John said.

John, one of many officers trained to operate the robot dog, says it's as simple as playing a video game.

It's covered with cameras and lights which allows police to get a real-time look at things.

"We can send it into complete darkness and get an idea of what's going on inside," John said.

Digidog has already been put to use by the department, including in Brooklyn back in October when a shooting suspect had barricaded himself in a home.

And later in Queens, Digidog came in handy at a tense scene where two armed men were holding five hostages in a home.

"People wanted food so we strapped food onto it and sent it into the location," Digiacomo said.

Digidog is also capable of two-way communication, for example, if an officer needs to talk with a suspect he or she can.

"In January an arm is coming out so it will be open doors and move objects," Digiacomo said.

For now, this is the department's only robot dog and during this test phase, it has only been used a few times.

But officers are hoping to add more, they're convinced Digidog has a bright future here with the NYPD.

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