If you stop to tie your shoe on a corner in Philadelphia or Camden, New Jersey, there’s a chance the city’s police force can see which foot. With hundreds of surveillance cameras on city streets, in the air and on officers’ bodies, 21st century police departments are relying on technology to fight crime more than ever before.
And one tool in particular is exploding in popularity: robots.
In the first six months of 2016, 201 robots were transferred from the US military to police forces around the country, according to a study by Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone. That’s more than any other year on record, and doesn’t even account for the number of robots acquired by police straight from manufacturers.