[[SUMMARY / COMMENTS: A more detailed and serious account of the “CUPID” stunner , mounts its Taser on a remote controlled Tarot Hexacopter. Chaotic Moon Studios put a Phazzer Dragon “conductive energy weapon” (a generic “Taser,” which is a brand name of TASER International) into the drone helicopter to shoot electrified darts into its […]
Archive for the 'Drones (UAVs)' Category
[[SUMMARY / COMMENTS: The future of tasers? TIME magazine online report (widely cited in alternative media) of CUPID (“chaotic unmanned personal intercept drone”), incorporating a new (generic) 80-000-volt taser being launched by Chaotic Moon design firm in Texas: “to raise awareness of what [drones] can do technically,” according to Whurley, a co-founder of the company. […]
USA – Texas Start-Up Tasers Intern Via Stun-Copter to Spark Discussion About Tech at South By Southwest festival (SXSW) (2014-03-10)
[[SUMMARY / COMMENTS: **See video here**: [Note: this is not a taser ™ product.] A stun-gun equipped drone was demonstrated during the South By Southwest festival (SXSW). It has been developed by Chaotic Moon, a four-year old creative technology studio based in Austin, Texas. It is called a Chaotic Unmanned Personal Intercept Drone or C.U.P.I.D.]] […]
[[SUMMARY / COMMENTS: Nothing directly about tasers here, but … State and local law enforcement are watching you with high-tech federally-owned drones … Homeland Security has released an updated list of “times the agency has flown its Predator drones on behalf of other agencies — 500 flights in total over a three-year period.” The drone […]
[[SUMMARY / COMMENTS: A long article on how drones are becoming domestic law enforcement tools, following their military.applications. A few mentions of tasers … Trials by US police of “Predator drones”. Police officials are already speaking openly about their desire to weaponize their drones with “nonlethal weapons such as Tasers or a bean-bag gun.”]] Salon.com, […]
USA – A Texas Sheriff’s Department is Launching an Unmanned Helodrone [drone] that Could Carry Weapons [including tasers] (2011-11-03)
[[SUMMARY /COMMENTS : The drones are a new frontier for policing: A sheriff’s office outside of Houston is taking a big and potentially controversial step forward with a new piece of law enforcement technology. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Conroe, Texas, is prepping its deputies to fly a $300,000 unmanned ShadowHawk helicopter –paid for […]
[[SUMMARY /COMMENTS: Bringing Afghanistan to your neighborhood police-force …. Drones for policing or border patrols? Why not? The ShadowHawk is a 50lb mini drone chopper that can be fitted with an XREP taser with the ability to fire four barbed electrodes that can be shot to a distance of 100 feet, delivering “neuromuscular incapacitation” to […]
AFGHANISTAN / USA – Montgomery, Maryland: Department of Homeland Security-Funded Taser Drone Launched in Texas (2011-10-31)
[[SUMMARY /COMMENTS: UAV (“Unmanned Aerial Vehicle” or drone) used against insurgents in Afghanistan can incapacitate suspects from above – it was demonstrated by a police unit – the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office – and will be operational within a month. This shows the ties between military/policing in the USA. The ShadowHawk on show in is […]
[[SUMMARY / COMMENTS: “Aerial Intelligence and Response” – i.e. drones and remote-controled helicopters — will, we read in PoliceOne, a major inline police magazine, “give … police agencies a new edge in their fight against crime”. One of the options: “The ShadowHawk is equipped with both a digital daytime camera and a FLIR system and […]
UK – Future police: Meet the UK’s armed robot drones (2011-02-10)
WIRED, by David Hambling
[[SUMMARY / COMMENTS: “Police forces all over the UK will soon be able to draw on unmanned aircraft from a national fleet, according to Home Office plans.” Not just for surveillance, but armed with “non-lethal weapons” – including tasers: “Taser stun guns are now so light (about 150 grams) that they could be mounted on the smaller drones. Antoine di Zazzo, head of SMP Technologies, which distributes tasers in France, says the company is fitting one to a small quad-rotor iDrone (another quad-rotor toy helicopter), which some have called a ‘flying saucer’.” ]]
Police forces all over the UK will soon be able to draw on unmanned aircraft from a national fleet, according to Home Office plans. Last month it was revealed that modified military aircraft drones will carry out surveillance on everyone from protesters and antisocial motorists to fly-tippers, and will be in place in time for the 2012 Olympics.
Surveillance is only the start, however. Military drones quickly moved from reconnaissance to strike, and if the British police follow suit, their drones could be armed — but with non-lethal weapons rather than Hellfire missiles.
The flying robot fleet will range from miniature tactical craft such as the miniature AirRobot being tested by Essex police, to BAE System’s new HERTI drone as flown in Afghanistan. The drones are cheaper than police helicopters — some of which will be retired — and are as wide as 12m in the case of HERTI.
Watching events on the ground without being able to act is frustrating. Targets often got away before an unarmed drone could summon assistance. In fact, in 2000 it was reported that an airborne drone spotted Osama bin Laden but could do nothing but watch him escape. So the RAF has been carrying out missions in Afghanistan with missile-armed Reapers since 2007. From the ground these just look like regular aircraft.
The police have already had a similar experience with CCTV. As well as observing, some of these are now equipped with speakers. Pioneered in Middleborough, the talking CCTV allows an operator to tell off anyone engaging in vandalism, graffiti or littering.
Unmanned aircraft can also be fitted with speakers, such as the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), which could not only warn fly tippers that they were breaking the law but also be loud enough to drive them away.
The LRAD is a highly directional speaker made of a flat array of piezoelectric transducers, producing intense beam of sound in a 30-degree cone. It can be used as a loudhailer, or deafen the target with a jarring, discordant noise. Some ships now carry LRAD as an anti-pirate measure: It was used to drive off an attack on the Seabourn Spirit off Somalia in 2005.
LRAD makers American Technology prefer to call its product a device rather than a weapon, and use terms such as “deterrent tones” and “influencing behaviour.” Police in the US have already adopted a vehicle-mounted LRAD for crowd control, breaking up protests at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh last year, although there have been warnings about the risk of hearing damage.
The LRAD has been tested on the Austrian S-100 unmanned helicopter, and the technology is ready if there is a police requirement.
But rather than just driving them away, a police drone should be able to stop fleeing criminals in their tracks. Helicopters already mount powerful searchlights, and strobe lighting capabilities can turn such systems into effective nonlethal weapons. High-intensity strobes can cause dizziness, disorientation and loss of balance making it virtually impossible to run away.
This effect was first harnessed in the “Photic Driver” made by British company Allen International in 1973. However, it has taken improvement in lighting technology (such as fast-switching Xenon lights) and an understanding of the physiology involved to make such weapons practical.
A “light based personnel immobilisation device” developed by Peak Beam Systems Inc has been successfully tested by the US military, and work to mount it on an unmanned helicopter in the States is under way.
This sort of light would be too dangerous for a manned aircraft because of the crew being affected. But an unmanned “strober” could be a literal crime stopper, and something we could see deployed within the next couple of years.
Even the smallest drones could be used for tactical police operations. As far back as 1972 the Home Office looked at model aircraft as an alternative to rubber bullets, literally flying them into rioters to knock them off their feet.
French company Tecknisolar Seni has demonstrated a portable drone armed with a double-barrelled 44mm Flash-Ball gun. Used by French special police units, the one-kilo Flash-Ball resembles a large calibre handgun and fires non-lethal rounds, including tear gas and rubber impact rounds to bring down a suspect without permanent damage — “the same effect as the punch of a champion boxer,” claim makers Verney-Carron.
However, last year there were questions over the use of Flash-Ball rounds by French police. Like other impact rounds, the Flash-Ball is meant to be aimed at the body — firing from a remote, flying platform is likely to increase the risk of head injury.
Another option is the taser. Taser stun guns are now so light (about 150 grams) that they could be mounted on the smaller drones. Antoine di Zazzo, head of SMP Technologies, which distributes tasers in France, says the company is fitting one to a small quad-rotor iDrone (another quad-rotor toy helicopter), which some have called a “flying saucer”.
Robots are already the preferred way of approaching possible bombs without putting officers lives at risk. In the future, police may prefer to deal with potentially dangerous suspects the same way, tackling them remotely using a taser if the situation requires it.
But tasers are controversial. In 2008 the Met rejected government plans for a wider issue of tasers to non-specialist officers because of the fear they could cause, and there have been numerous complaints of abuse. For some, the arrival of a hovering law-enforcement drone with a video eyes and a 50,000-volt taser at the ready might be a police technology too far.
Which leads Wired to ask you for your thoughts: Are tasers and armed robot drones the ideal next step for British law enforcement, or will it just make our police officers less capable of dealing with serious problems when they’re forced to intervene in person? Let us know in the comments below.
[[SUMMARY / COMMENTS: Marine commander says “nonlethal weapons could prevent civilian casualties and give Marines and soldiers the ability to better confront situations in which it isn’t clear whether lethal force is necessary”. Fine, BUT the experience is consistent: tasers escalate violence in crowd-control situations and are NOT an alternative to “lethal force”. Particularly worrying: […]
[[SUMMARY / COMMENTS: (Not directly about tasers but the “post-taser generation”.) A US sheriff says “Not since the Taser has a technology promised so much for law enforcement”. From Iraq to your neighborhood police unit … “The nice thing is it’s covert,” said Bill C. Nabors Jr., chief pilot with the Texas Department of Public […]
IACP 2010 – the 117th Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference and Law Enforcement Education and Technology: – Airborne support for law enforcement that won’t break the bank Vanguard Defense Industries’ ShadowHawk provides a serious strategic advantage for any agency that deploys it. If you are of the opinion that your department cannot […]
Times of India, Praveen Dass … NLWs,however futuristic,will always come with considerable risks attached.Tasers,electro-shock devices that are now a fairly common feature of law enforcement in the West,are one cautionary example.Many suspects have been inadvertently ‘tasered’ into cardiac arrest in several instances in the US and Canada over the last decade. Apart from the politics […]
CANADA / QUEBEC – Présentation à la Commission de la sécurité publique de la “Coalition pour le retrait du Taser” [The “Coalition pour le retrait du Taser” official statement to the Montreal Public Secirity Commission’s hearings on the taser] (2010-04-27)
[[SUMMARY /COMMENTS : An important analysis, the official position statement, presented by the president of the Ligue des droits et libertés, of the Quebec Coalition pour le retrait de Taser at the April 2010 Montreal Public Safety Commission’s public hearings on police access to tasers. Six major issues are raised: (1) the background of the […]