San Francisco police want help from robots capable of killing

Will American robots have the right to carry weapons? The San Francisco police plead in this direction through a document turned over to the Northern California City Board of Supervisors. Law enforcement would like to be allowed to use robots with a “deadly force” in certain situations such as “trainings and simulations, criminal apprehensions, critical incidents, urgent circumstances, execution of a warrant or during the evaluation of a suspicious device”according to the proposal.

These robots are originally used to analyze intervention perimeters or defuse bombs, but, according to The Verge, each of them has an optional weapon system. The media details that, for example, the F5A model can load shotgun cartridges to trigger the detonation system of certain bombs. The QinetiQ Talon can, for its part, be fitted with a machine gun or a grenade launcher. An armament policy justified by the fact that the department uses only 5 of the 17 robots at its disposal, leaving 12 machines non-operational.

Use in case of extreme emergency

San Francisco police say these robots could kill people “when the risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other option of force available to the SFPD”. Also according to the document, giving robots the ability to kill would help agents in terms of “ground support and situational awareness”.

Solicited by The Vergea spokesperson for the city’s police department, Eve Laokwansathitaya, clarified the circumstances of the use of these “killer robots”: “The SFPD has no sort of specific plan in mind, since unusually dangerous or spontaneous operations where the SFPD would need to provide lethal force via robot would be rare and exceptional”. A version of the policy document has already been approved. A decision from the entire Supervisory Board is expected next week.

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