From Pepper Spray to Champagne

From Pepper Spray to Champagne

Shhh! This is the story of drones.

Drones continue to go from battlefield to backyard.

Initially, developed for advanced persistent surveillance and later weaponized for targeting terrorists, we heard the like of Jeff Bezos promise drones for Amazon delivery.

Once again, the double-edge of drones continues…

This week we saw the introduction of scary, “Riot Control Drones” developed by Desert Wolf (a military contractor) that can shoot 4,000 rounds of pepper spray, paint balls, and non-lethal plastic projectiles, employs bright strobe lights and blinding lasers, and issues commands and warnings through loud speakers, and monitors crowds of protesters by high-definition and thermal vision cameras.

At the same time, we saw drones being used as Flying Bel Hops in the luxury Casa Madrona hotel and spa in California for delivering champagne, treats, toys, and even sunglasses to their $10,000 a night guests on their guest deck or even to a boat out on the bay.

And we are still only at the beginning, with drones, and robotics in general, moving to revolutionize our world.

Robots will surveil, they will attack and kill, and they will serve people everywhere from restaurants and retail to hospitals and homes.

You can’t shush the robots, they are on the march and they will have the means to help and hurt people–it won’t be simple, but it definitely will be completely invasive. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Architecting Crowd Control


Last week (19 October 2011) T3 Motion Inc. in CA launched their all electric Non-Lethal Response Vehicle(NLRV) for “crowd control.”The vehicle is a souped-up three-wheeled Segway equipped two compressed air powered rifles able to shoot 700 non-lethal rounds per minute of pepper, water, dye, or rubber projectiles, and each vehicles can carry 10,000 rounds.According to Trendhunter, the NLRV also has a “40,000-lumen LED strobe light, a riot shield, a P.A. system, and puncture-proof tires” as well as a video camera.The notion of a law enforcement officer shooting an automatic (non-lethal, as it may be) to quell a riot does not quite fit in with general first amendment rights for peaceful assembly and typical demonstrations that as far as I know are generally NOT an all heck break loose scenario.I wonder whether instead of a NLRV for handling riot control, a better idea would be a Lethal Response Vehicle (LRV)–with proper training and precautions–to handle homeland security patrols at major points of entry and around critical infrastructure.From an architecture perspective, this seems to me to be a clear case of where a “desirement” by somebody out there (gaming, fantasy, or what not) should be channeled into fulfilling a more genuine requirementfor people actually protecting our homeland.The benefits of speed and maneuverability can benefit field officers in the right situations–where real adversaries need to be confronted quickly with the right equipment.