Rick Smith explained that his non-lethal devices could collaborate in the interaction with civilians in conflict zones.
Rick Smith, the creator of the taser gun and body cameras used by all American police officers, has his sights set on the American military market. His company Axos, in fact, has just signed an agreement with the United States National Guard to deploy infantry or even special operations teams.
The goal is to develop drones capable of shooting electric shocks and recording what happens at the same time. The devices, equipped with Artificial Intelligence, could also transcribe conversations in real-time, send alert signals, and facilitate the audit of the proper use of the equipment.
Historically, non-lethal weapons have not attracted much to the military. However, Smith believes that his devices can help interact with civilians in conflict zones, especially in urban settings. “If non-lethal force can be used to achieve the same suppressing effect, it could be much easier to operate in more environments,” he says.
He says that future advances in robotics will make tasers and other non-lethal technologies easier to deploy in combat environments. Deployment in drones, for example, would give the Taser a range more significant than the current 7.5 meters.
According to the Defense One portal, Axon estimates that Taser drones will be available in three years.
Before Smith explains, the company must be very clear about the laws that will guide the way. “One of the concerns that people have is that the police or the military are going to use it excessively. Well, I think it’s a legitimate concern, but it has a solution. And the way to do it is through greater scrutiny and supervision. “
The first thing, he clarifies, is that the decision to shoot can only fall on a natural person.
He notes that drone operators already pilot small and large devices with the help of video streaming, so it would be easy to record incidents of drone-deployed stun guns for monitoring.
For Smith, sending drones into a house full of people is much safer than sending shooters.
He further explains that the ability to deploy a non-lethal force will also be more critical in the future, primarily when the US military seeks to strike targets in places where there are fewer troops on the ground.
Smith invented the stun gun in the early 1990s. As soon as the criticisms began for the possibility of excessive use, he created the body camera for police officers, which has become a staple of US police forces.
Thanks to robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Axon is already using machine learning in body camera recordings. In addition, the company has access to massive amounts of videos because Police departments pay Axon to host them on Microsoft Azure. “Every big department you can think of – NYPD, Los Angeles, Chicago, DC, hosts all of their data in the cloud,” Smith said during the recent AUSA conference in Washington, DC.
“The specific uses of Axon’s AI at this time are limited,” Smith said. The most critical area is the instant translation of spoken words to text. In Australia, for example, it says that the police routinely use the instant transcription feature when investigating domestic abuse. Previously, the police would note a statement and ask the victim to report to the police station the next day for a formal interview. This can give the abuser enough time to intimidate the victim into not telling his story. Smith explained that with the instant transcription feature, “they take the statement right there, at the scene. They just interview them on camera. We transcribe it, and then we have a transcribed version of the video available almost instantly. “