The police force in Thailand is taking crime fighting to a whole new level with semi-robodogs. But unlike Robocop’s installed technology, these dogs are wearing their sophisticated hardware. Also, unlike Robocop, these dogs aren’t meant to actively engage criminals but simply serve as a surveillance team.
For years, stray dogs have been considered a menace by the general Thai populace. They steal food, they harass people, spread disease, and cause other problems. But rather than consider their presence a curse, the Thai government has decided to use the dogs to their advantage in their ongoing war against street crime.
This team of street patrol dogs will be fitted with a smart vest that possesses audio and video recording capabilities. The aspects of the vest that do the recording are subtle and hidden within the vest so as not to draw suspicion from wary criminal elements.
The program is still in its early stages but prototypes of the vest already exist. And of course these crime fighting street dogs already have a name. “The Watchdogs!”
The technology for the vest is being developed and provided by a subsidiary of the South Korean tech giant, Samsung. To ensure valuable man hours aren’t wasted watching dogs simply peeing on poles or partaking in other doggy hijinks, the camera on the vest will not be activated until the dog begins barking aggressively. This act of the dog will initiate a live video stream to a mobile device which will be monitored by the police.
To ensure no cruelty to the animals, the vests are made of a light material that’s designed to be as comfy as possible for the dog. While the scheme behind this plan for Thailand’s street dogs is one that deserves applause, the practicality and effectiveness of the vest is yet to be fully seen, but I for one hope it works out.