back to article Coke-snorting cop bots to replace sniffer dogs

Sniffer dogs can get tired, but fibre-optic sniffer robots don't have the same problem. And they are just as good at detecting cocaine, says Tong Sun, a professor of sensor engineering at City University London. Prof Sun and her team won a £140k grant on Tuesday to work on the coke-detecting robots that they foresee will reduce …

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Coat

Bah

Unless it can roll on its back for a tummy-rub or fetch a stick, I'm not interested.

(Yes, the one with the dog biscuits in the pocket.)

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Facepalm

Nooooo :(

"Sniffer dogs can get tired." Judging by the rate my dog can sniff on an average day walk I just can't really believe that particular statement. Aside from that, it's always nice to see dogs in airports and such places. AAAAAAND "[sniffer dogs] cannot act as evidence in court"? Surely that's the cocaine's job???

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"Judging by the rate my dog can sniff on an average day walk I just can't really believe that particular statement."

Fellow beagle owner, I take it.

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Devil

Maybe

but as an owner of two terriers, they are just as bad

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Anonymous Coward

next step: Crime-sniffing cop bots to replace cops.

Oh, wait, I'm sure I've seen this before! This dreadful movie... in those days when the only way to find out how dreadful it is was to read the reviews in a paper...

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They should call it...

THE DOG-MATIC

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Alert

What an utterly useless technology.

I read somewhere that nearly all high value bank notes contain traces of cocaine.

This sounds like a fun was to make criminals out of everyone.

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Holmes

urban myth

Thats a load of Tottenham that is. A big steaming pile of Hotspur.

Just think about the amount of coke users ( or coke used) compared with the amount of banknotes around - which have a pretty short lifespan.

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Anonymous Coward

I imagine this will be used not so much at airports but at train and bus stations - politicians haven't the balls to tax it openly so will tax via 'fines'.

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Anonymous Coward

Well...

Will they also pee on lamp-posts?

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Silver badge

"Sniffer dogs can get tired"

Uh ... not in my world. My critters are always willing to work ... Sense of smell isn't exactly a major muscle group.

IMO, speaking as someone who works in the field with this particular subject matter, the machines are are still a couple decades behind the dawgs. Gut feeling is that mechanical sniffers will not fully match the capability of my hounds in my lifetime.

I could be wrong. It's been known to happen.

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Bronze badge

Actually

Dogs dio get tired quite quickly. They are also very sensitive to ther handlers mood which affects results

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@Richard Taylor 2

My sniffer dogs (Labs & Shepards (Alsations to you brits), mostly) will happily work 6 hours, take a break, and work for another 6. The break is for the handler, not the dog. Granted, they can't do this day after day for months on end ... but my guys worked 6 days on, one off at the World Trade Center. Ever worked with a good hunting dog? They are all go ... Training them to alert on specific scents is just re-directing this energy.

Agree on handler's mood ... Contrary to popular perception, the leash is a coms link, not a controller ... at least when dog & handler are trained properly.

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Happy

Bet they can't really do what dogs do ...

The drug sniffing, animal meat and fruit dogs (3 types, not combo) in the US airports are cute, only you don't want them 'cute' to you.

If they detect their favourite scent on a passenger, they simply sit down, looking at the suspect and wagging their tale. Their large hairy human handler then takes over and 'requests' the passenger follow him.

Bet these machines won't do that.

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@JaitcH

Most of my guys will alert on any of several scents, on command, depending on the situation. (Human bones, cadavers, living humans, explosives, various drugs, etc.)

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Facepalm

Healthy snorting

There has been some work on dogs sniffing out cancer and other diseases. Wouldn't it be nice if airports and tube stations had machines (or dogs) sniffing out your health problems and handing out referral cards for your GP, instead of burly coppers intimidating dope-heads. Don't 's'pose there's any money for that though.

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Orv

Immune to handler cues

The reason dog reactions aren't allowed as evidence is because it's been shown that the dogs actually can react to cues from their handlers -- in other words, they tend to alert on people who happen to look suspicious to the human handling them, not necessarily people actually carrying drugs. Presumably robots would be immune to this effect.

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@Orv

Only if the handler is badly trained. Dogs don't know how to lie ... probably part of the reason I enjoy working with them as much as I do.

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Orv

@jake

They don't know how to lie, but they also only really have one goal -- to please their handler. If giving false positives pleases their handler, they'll quickly learn to do it, even if it's not what the handler consciously intends. This may suit the handlers just fine, too, since it gives them probable cause to search anyone they don't like the looks of.

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@Orv

That's why I used the term "badly trained handler".

My guys never false-alert. Ever. The local LEOs like it that way.

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