According to a policy draft, the San Francisco police department has proposed that it be allowed to use robots with deadly force when responding to incidents. The document outlines how the department plans to use its collection of robots, which number 17 in total, but 12 are not operational.
A police spokesman told Mission Local that remote-controlled devices are generally used for area inspection and bomb disposal. The proposal says that the department wants to use them for training and simulations, criminal apprehensions, critical incidents, exigent circumstances, executing a warrant or during suspicious device assessments.
The department's newer Remotec model robots have an optional weapons system, according to the Verge, and its model F 5 A can load shotgun shells that are often used in bomb detonation. It's possible to weaponize the QinetiQ Talon. According to the site, a model used by the US army can be modified to add machine guns and grenade launchers.
A version of the document was approved by the board of supervisors rules committee. The decision will be made by the full board next week.
The SFPD did not respond immediately to questions from the Guardian. A department spokeswoman told the Verge that they did not currently have any sort of specific plan in place regarding the use of deadly force by robots as they deem a circumstance that would require such force to be rare and exceptional.