Why risk the lives of soldiers when you can just strap an assault rifle onto a drone and send it into battle?
That appears to be the thinking behind the TIKAD drone, from Florida startup Duke Robotics. It’s a large drone that soldiers can pilot toward something they want to shoot, and remotely fire a weapon suspended from its undercarriage. Rather like its much larger predecessors, the TIKAD is essentially a drone that allows military forces to remotely take out targets from a distance.
But as Duke Robotics’ dramatic video shows, military drones of the future wouldn’t require pilots to be sitting in converted shipping containers, dropping bombs on targets thousands of miles away from strip malls on the outskirts of small American towns. Instead they could be deployed from the battlefield by a solider wanting to take out a specific threat right in front of them. While this might be useful in warfare—especially as the US’s war in Afghanistan apparently ramps back up—it’s far more chilling when thinking about police forces—or nefarious entities—using technology like this on civilians.
Last year, the Dallas police force used a remote-controlled bomb-defusing robot to kill a sniper terrorizing its streets, in what was likely the first killing of it kind. And ISIS has been experimenting with strapping explosives onto consumer drones. According to DefenseOne, the Israeli government is interesting in purchasing Duke Robotics’ technology. Perhaps it won’t be long before local municipalities will be looking to deploy drones like this—it’d be a lot easier than building an ED-209.