Drones armed with stun guns to protect schools abandoned by Taser after councilors resign in protest | Scientific and technical news


The company behind the Taser weapons dropped plans to supply drones with stun guns to schools after the Uvalde shooting, after several councilors resigned in protest.

Earlier this month, Axon Enterprise CEO Rick Smith published a blog post titled “How Non-Lethal Armed Drones Can Help Fight School Shootings” in which he claimed that devices “could help prevent the next Uvalde, Sandy Hook or Columbine”.

The idea of ​​a drone that first responders could use to remotely fire at a target 12m (40ft) away was announced following the shooting in Uvalde, Texasduring which 19 schoolchildren and two teachers were killed.

In response, nine of the company’s 12 ethics advisory board members resigned on Monday over concerns about the plan, as first reported by Reuters.

Board members said they quit over fears the drones would harm over-policed ​​communities and in protest that Axon announced its plans without consulting them.

“In light of the feedback, we are pausing work on this project and refocusing to engage further with key players to fully explore the best way forward,” Smith said in a statement.

Schools would pay $1,000 a year for the system, Axon CEO suggested
Schools would pay $1,000 a year for the system, Axon CEO suggested

Mr Smith had previously written a graphic novel which depicted a drone with a Taser weapon stopping a school shooter at a day care centre.

Learn more about the Texas school shooting

According to Reuters, Axon first approached his ethics committee more than a year ago about the drone idea and the panel voted eight to four against piloting the technology for police.

Despite this, Axon made a public announcement about the technology “as he said he wanted to move past the ‘unfruitful debates’ over guns after the Uvalde shooting”, Reuters reported.

In an interview, a board member warned that drones “could exacerbate racial injustice, invade privacy through surveillance, and become more deadly if other weapons are added,” he said. he adds.

“What we have right now is just dangerous and irresponsible,” said Dr. Wael Abd-Almageed, associate professor of engineering research at the University of Southern California.

The idea of ​​a drone with a stun gun “diverts society from real solutions to a tragic problem,” the resigning board members said in a statement.

Axon’s chief executive suggested the drones would be docked in corridors and could move around rooms through special vents – he said the system would cost a school $1,000 (£800) a year.

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