A robot guard dog named Spot is patrolling the streets of Pompeii after being enlisted by the city's archaeological park.
The Boston Dynamics robot hound – which costs an eye-watering £60,000 – is being deployed at nighttime and in more secluded areas to monitor potential suspicious activity.
Using its various cameras and sensors, it will be able to provide a constant feed of footage from areas that a human would struggle to reach.
One of the main reasons Spot is being utilised in Pompeii is to help the city investigate tunnels dug by illegal relic hunters, who continue to pillage its priceless historical artefacts.
Structural damage to buildings is one of the big consequences of this looting, but with Spot, archaeologists now have the chance to enter areas that would otherwise be too dangerous.
The ruins of the city of Pompeii, which was buried under volcanic ash by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, are visited by millions of tourists every year.
However, what remains today is under threat from the natural elements as well as criminals. According to the Daily Mail, part of Spot the dog's remit could be to establish whether the tunnels dug by relic hunters are undermining the structural integrity of the ruins.
"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," said Gabriel Zuchtriegel, director of the Pompeii archaeological park.
"Often the safety conditions within the tunnels dug by grave robbers are extremely precarious, as a consequence of which the use of a robot could signify a breakthrough that would allow us to proceed with greater speed and in total safety."
While buying Spot the dog certainly didn't come cheap – he costs around £60,000 – the savings made in the long term could be priceless, as the robot may be able to identify possible structural issues before disaster strikes.
Pompeii archaeological park is also using Leica BLK2FLY, a flying laser scanner capable of autonomously conducting 3D scans.
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