SF Police to Arm New Robots with Explosives Instead of Guns

San Francisco police have decided to let robots handle some things with deadly force. Like something straight out of Terminator 2, its new robot police force will not have guns but explosives “to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspect[s].”

The city acquired 17 robots by January 2022, but the legislation passed only yesterday. Don’t worry; they say they’ll only use them in what they deem as extreme situations. 

Humans will remote-control the droids, utilizing the IRobot First Look. This throwable, expandable robot can investigate “dangerous and hazardous material” and “allows operations where other robots can’t fit or maneuver.”

City Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said SFPD will have access to seven robots designed to neutralize and dispose of bombs and provide video surveillance for operators.

Police oversight groups criticized the idea, stating that the parameters under which use would be allowed are too vague. The 11-person supervisory board gave its approval, despite dissent from District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who was disappointed that the bill was passed.

She was one of only three to vote against it.

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