Delhi Police Consider Armed Robot for Anti-Terror Role

Military units have used armed robots for many years in their operations, but now a civilian police force in Delhi, India is considering the purchase of one or more of these bots.  No final decisions have been made on this, but the ramifications of this could radically alter future police anti-terror tactics.  This could also change how police forces handle any special tactical situation.  An armed subject with a hostage might find that he or she is face to face with a heavily armed “robocop” and not a negotiator.  What, if any, ethical considerations must be made when civilian police have these weaponized robots at their disposal?  Already, robots are used in bomb disposal situations.  Some robots are used to scout hostage situations. Others provide a negotiations platform in some cases.  It is not a stretch to see these armed robots as a part of Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) units.  In fact, if you look at the Foster-Miller website, as I did in researching this post, you can see that there is already a SWAT model for sale to police departments. published an article on this topic earlier this year about armed robots being marketed to police forces.  And there are stories about TASER-armed robots being developed for law enforcement officers.

I am not necessarily against this idea.  These robots have the potential of saving police officers’ lives by keeping them out of dangerous situations.  I think the larger question is how much autonomy will the robots have in these situations?  Right now these robots are teleoperated and have limited autonomous abilities.  But, if robots go into buildings and have to depend on radio links for control, there will be places where the machines will not have a communications link.  In those times the robots will have to be able to work on their own.  How do you make sure the robots know what to do when that happens? 

Read the article at the link below and decide what you think about this.

robocop2 (1) 

Credit:  Pics/MiD DAY

The robot carries a machine gun, a camera and a bomb-diffusing chemical; demo held for Delhi cops This may change the face of counter-insurgency operations in urban landscape, forever.

Delhi police may get sci-fi anti-terror tool
(author unknown)
Wed, 16 Dec 2009 08:33:55 GMT