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The NYPD used a robotic dog like this one from Boston Dynamics. Photo: Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP via Getty Images

The New York Police Department terminated its contract for a robotic dog after residents complained.

Why it matters: Robots and drones are becoming a bigger part of policing, but their presence makes some people feel uncomfortable, as they've come to symbolize the growing militarization of the police.

Driving the news: The NYPD revealed this week that it had ended a $94,000 contract with the robotics company Boston Dynamics for a four-legged robot that officers named "Digidog."

  • Digidog had been acquired by the NYPD last August, and it had been employed in the field a few times since then, including one instance when it was used to scout a hostage situation in the Bronx before officers entered the building.
  • Digidog, which is agile enough to climb stairs — a feat even the murderous Dalek robots in "Doctor Who" long struggled to manage — was meant to be used in situations deemed too dangerous for human officers.

The catch: Its presence at a hostage situation at a public housing building in Manhattan caused a fierce backlash among residents and politicians who saw it as alienating and a waste of taxpayer money.

Background: Police have used robots for decades to respond to hazardous situations, but concerns about the technology spiked after the Dallas police killed a mass shooter in 2016 by blowing up a bomb-squad robot.

On the one hand: Given that police who are under threat — whether real or imagined — are more likely to respond with violence, the possible increased use of unarmed robots might make both officers and the people they are meant to serve safer.

On the other: Taking human officers out of the equation will do little to improve deteriorating relations with the public.

Go deeper: Des Moines metro police using controversial facial recognition tool

Go deeper

Updated 49 mins ago - Science

NTSB probes crash that killed 10 in Alabama as storm lashes Southeast

Flash-flooding in Bloomington, Indiana, on Saturday. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that it's investigating a fiery multi-vehicle weekend crash in Alabama that killed 10 people, including nine children, as storms swept the Southeast.

The big picture: Saturday's crash on Interstate 65, south of Montgomery, occurred amid a tropical depression that left 13 people dead in Alabama as it triggered flash floods and spawned tornadoes that razed "dozens of homes," per AP.

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.

American Airlines cuts hundreds of flights amid demand surge

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Airlines announced Sunday that it's cutting some 950 flights from its schedule, including 296 this weekend, to reduce potential pressure on its operations, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. vaccine rollout has led to a massive increase in travel bookings. The airline noted in an emailed statement that it's facing an "incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand."