After its civilian oversight committee whipped itself into a panic over robots that can dispose of bombs, a California police agency found itself in hot water. City officials are concerned that police may use the devices to shoot civilians even though they are intended to dismantle terrorist bombs without endangering human life.
The police department’s robot for disarming bombs was discussed by the Oakland Police Commission on September 21. The disruptor of the robot, which uses a blank shotgun cartridge to discharge a high-powered waterjet at a bomb, destroying its firing circuit and rendering it harmless, was explained by Lieutenant Omar Daza-Quiroz.
Civilian commission member Jennifer Tu questioned whether a live round would fit instead of a blank cartridge when Daza-Quiroz stated that they always load a blank cartridge carefully. Yes, it would, according to Daza-Quiroz, and it would essentially transform the disruptor into a shotgun.
"For now, Oakland police and commissioners agreed that robots could only be armed with pepper spray, though conversations from the meeting suggest armed robots with shotguns might be deployed sometime in this decade."https://t.co/ED8RboN1sp— Local Capital (@DaveRubin15) October 21, 2022
Another participant quickly enquired as to whether the police intended to fire live ammunition. No, according to the lieutenant; in fact, they’ve never tested it because doing so could damage the $3,000 instrument.
He did, however, outline a few situations in which it may be helpful, such as when a gunman had holed himself inside and police couldn’t get to him.
In 2016, Dallas PD used a robot to deliver a bomb to a sniper’s position, where it exploded, killing him after he had already killed five police officers. a judgment that has drawn criticism.
The Oakland Police Commission, on the other hand, is opposed to the idea of law enforcement deploying robots as weapons due to the possibility of unauthorized use. Now they’re seeking to change the laws so that police can’t use the disruptor to target criminals by putting live shells in it. Tu claims that by doing this, the risk of police deploying robots to murder people will be eliminated before it spreads widely.