The Taser corporation is planning on building a drone that is equipped with a stun gun, according to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal.
Not only will the drones be equipped with tasers, but there is also talk of them being autonomous, meaning that an actual human won’t necessarily be needed to fly the drone.
“One can certainly imagine high-risk scenarios such as terrorist barricades where such a capability could allow public safety officers to more rapidly incapacitate a threat and save many lives,” a Taser representative said in a statement.
The spokesperson said that the new project was inspired by the standoff in Dallas this year where police used a robot to kill a suspect who had shot at police.
Drones equipped with stun guns aren’t actually an entirely new idea, in 2014 a software company called Chaotic Moon Studios unleashed an experimental taser drone at South by Southwest.
However, the project was nothing more than a publicity stunt, as the creators at Chaotic Moon Studios were terrified by the potential of what they had made.
Ironically enough, Taser spokesman Steve Tuttle criticized the project at the time, saying that he was “stupefied” that anyone would consider attaching a Taser to a drone. Now, just a few short years later, Tuttle is announcing that his company will actually be pioneering this technology.
In the Journal’s report, Portland police department’s Pete Simpson said that weaponized drones could be “useful” but admitted that it would be unpopular with the public.
“Getting the public to accept an unmanned vehicle that’s got some sort of weapon on it might be a hurdle to overcome,” he said.
A spokesperson with the FAA said in a statement that they have no plans on preventing police departments from having weaponized drones. In fact, some states have already begun to pass legislation that would explicitly approve weaponized drones. In August 2015, North Dakota became the first state to pass legislation approving of such weapons, and now with large protests in the state surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline, it is entirely possible that they will be in use soon.