The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted to allow the San Francisco Police Department to use lethal robots against suspects, ushering the sci-fi dystopia trope into reality. As the AP reports, the robots would be remote-controlled—not autonomous—and would use explosives to kill or incapacitate suspects when lives are at stake.
The police have had bomb disposal robots forever, but the Pandora’s box of weaponizing them was originally opened by the Dallas Police Department. In 2016, after failed negotiations with a holed-up active shooter, the DPD wired up a disposal robot with explosives, drove it up to the suspect, and detonated it, killing the shooter. The SFPD now has the authority to make this a tactic.