City highlights robot dogs, drones used in Lower Manhattan parking garage collapse cleanup

Janice Yu Image
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
NYC highlights robot dogs, drones used in garage collapse cleanup
Janice Yu reports on the garage collapse cleanup efforts from Lower Manhattan.

LOWER MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- Crews continue to rely on machinery and state-of-the-art technology to clean up and survey the rubble at the Lower Manhattan garage collapse.

On Tuesday morning, leaders including Mayor Eric Adams and FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh provided more details about how the technology is being used.

Janice Yu has more on the technology used in the garage clean-up process in Lower Manhattan.

City leaders say technology helped keep first responders safe and speed up the process of assessing the damage.

It's a dog that goes where humans can't, Bergh, the FDNY's four-legged robot dog.

Though its primary use is incidents with hazardous materials, the 70-pound dog's skills were on display for the first time in the moments following the garage collapse.

"Our robotics team was actually training at a high rise close by when the call came in about the collapse," Kavanagh said.

So the team sent Bergh inside the collapsed four-story garage, live streaming, using its thermal camera to look for people who may be trapped. It was a task too risky for first responders at the time.

"We knew the structure was still extremely dangerous but we still had a job to do," Adams said. "We needed to accomplish that task without putting first responders in danger."

While Bergh patrolled the ground, the FDNY and NYPD drones were the eyes in the sky.

"Our robotics as well as our drones were giving us info we not have otherwise had access to," Kavanagh said.

Adams said technology like this is a vital part of both the fire and police departments. He pushed back on critics who raised concerns about the misuse of the robots and those who called them toys.

"This is not playtime, this is real-time," Adams said. "This is an administration that is not going to be fearful of using everything possible to save the lives of New Yorkers and first responders."

The FDNY has Bergh and another robot dog and the NYPD just acquired two robot dogs as well.

The cleanup at the collapse site is expected to take some time.

As a result, Pace University's building next to the site of the collapse will remain closed through the end of this semester.

ALSO READ | FDNY deployed robotic Dalmatian dog to survey unstable collapsed parking garage in Manhattan

Video shows one of the city's new digidogs in action at the parking garage collapse in Lower Manhattan.


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