It was inevitable. Now it's happening. Desert Wolf, a company in South Africa, has created a drone capable of shooting pepper spray and "blinding lasers" at unruly crowds. The company has sold 25 of the drones to a mining company after showing them off at a trade show, the BBC reports. They offer more details of the drones' weaponry:
Desert Wolf's website states that its Skunk octacopter drone is fitted with four high-capacity paintball barrels, each capable of firing up to 20 bullets per second.
In addition to pepper-spray ammunition, the firm says it can also be armed with dye-marker balls and solid plastic balls.
The machine can carry up to 4,000 bullets at a time as well as "blinding lasers" and on-board speakers that can communicate warnings to a crowd.
CNet notes that these "blinding lasers" are forbidden for use in war by the Geneva Convention and adds that weapons that are classified as "non-lethal" often do kill anyway:
"These weapons cannot be sufficiently well controlled to avoid causing serious injury, especially to eyes," warns Mark Gubrud of campaign group the International Committee for Robot Arms Control. "Many existing "non-lethal" crowd-control weapons can and often do kill."
Right now it appears that mining companies in countries that have seen violent clashes between striking workers and authorities are most interested. But is it only a matter of time before the infamous "pepper spray cop" is replaced by a "pepper spray drone"? Well, at least the drone won't apply for workers' compensation payments afterward.