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The ‘Dog’ That Guards The Site of Pompeii

The canine robot from Boston Dynamics has been deployed to patrol and safeguard the heritage site of Pompeii, Italy.

The Monday, the Archaeological Park of Pompeii sent a press release revealing the latest development. Named ‘Spot’, the agile robot is created by Boston Dynamics – the leading research facility in robotics. The objective of the robot is to patrol the archaeological sites of Pompeii and look for structural defects which might damage the heritage site. It also aims to search for underground tunnels dug by robbers, where sending humans is risky.

Pompeii Archaeological Park

The ancient Roman city of Pompeii was destroyed in 79 C.E after the violent explosion of Mount Vesuvius. For many centuries, it has been recognized as one of the most important archaeological ancient sites. It has also been subject to robberies, with thieves looting ancient objects from the site to sell on the black market. Underground tunnels were dug up by robbers to loot the objects undetected. Even today, many such tunnels were yet to be discovered.

Apart from the robberies, UNESCO identified numerous structural defects at the site and threatened to remove Pompeii from its list of World Heritage Sites if these issues were not addressed. This prompted the Italian government to begin the Smart Archaeological Park initiative to maintain and safeguard the site with the latest technology.

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Gabriel Zuchtriegel (Director-General, Pompeii Archaeological Park) said: “We wish to test the use of these robots in the underground tunnels that were made by illegal excavators and which we are uncovering in the area around Pompeii, as part of a memorandum of understanding with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Torre Annunziata, led by NunzioFragliasso.” In addition, the press release said that the objective of deploying Spot is to “improve both the quality of monitoring of the existing areas, and to further our knowledge of the state of progress of the works in areas undergoing recovery or restoration, and thereby to manage the safety of the site, as well as that of workers.”