Law \ Legal

Oakland Cops Eye Shotgun-Toting Robots

A recent debate between the Oakland Police Department and a civilian oversight body over whether or not the police should be allowed to utilize shotgun-toting robots may have been shelved, with the police relinquishing their push for official language that would have had armed robots responding to certain circumstances, but the department is not ending its pursuit of an authorized robot use policy, reports Sam Biddle for The Intercept.

The weapon, called a percussion actuated nonelectric disruptor (PAN), affixes to a robot and directs an explosive force — typically a blank shotgun shell or pressurized water — at suspected bombs. However, the robot can also fire actual shotgun shells, and while the Oakland PD insisted that the robot would not be used against people, they admitted it could be in certain situations. In 2016, Dallas PD strapped a C-4 bomb to a city-owned robot and used it to blow up a sniper.

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