To end the Dallas shooting spree, police used a robot to kill for the first time

dallas police department lethal robot shooting death v3
Dallas police used a bomb-disposal bot like this one, shown here operated by Maryland State Fire Marshals, to carry a bomb next to the Dallas shooting suspect and detonate it, killing him. Lee Cannon/Flickr
Bringing bloody resolution to a standoff with the suspected shooter in Thursday’s horrific sniper attack on police at a Black Lives Matter protest, Dallas Police cornered and killed the suspect in a parking garage with an explosive delivered by a bomb-disposal robot. The AP quotes robotics expert Peter W. Singer at the New America Foundation as saying that, to his knowledge, this is the first instance in the United States of police killing someone with a robot.

In a statement given on Friday, Police Chief David Brown said that the robot was deployed after several hours of failed negotiations and an exchange of fire at the El Centro College parking structure where the suspect was found. “We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was,” said Brown. “Other options would have exposed our officers to great danger. The suspect is deceased as a result of detonating the bomb.”

The suspect has been identified as 25-year-old Micah Johnson, a former Army reservist and Dallas-area resident with no criminal record, according to the Los Angles Times. No other suspects have been publicly identified, but authorities have suggested that two to four shooters were involved in the attack, which killed five police officers and injured seven more. Brown said that during negotiations with the police, Johnson apparently said explicitly that he was motivated by the recent police killings in Minnesota and Louisiana, and wanted to target police officers in retribution, “especially white officers.”

Singer confirmed on Twitter that this is indeed the first reported use of lethal robots by American police, although similar tactics have been deployed in Iraq by the United States military.

Bomb-disposal robots have become an integral tool for American police and military over the last several years, allowing for personnel to resolve many deadly situations without putting additional lives at risk. Many such robots are equipped with small explosives to pre-emptively detonate larger bombs, but it is not clear whether the explosive used in this case was one of those.

Emerging Tech

Delivery robots are poised to invade our cities, but are we ready for them?

Across the United States, small startups and big businesses alike are clamoring to swarm city streets with fleets of autonomous delivery robots. The only problem? Our urban areas aren't always well-equipped to accommodate them
Smart Home

I have seen the future, and it’s full of salad-making robots

Think that robots bussing tables, tossing salads and baking bread is a futuristic concept? It's actually not as far away as you might think. Robots took center stage at a food robotics summit in San Francisco this week, where they showed…
Emerging Tech

Notre Dame fire: How drones and a robot called Colossus helped limit the damage

The fire that devastated the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday shocked many around the world. In a bid to prevent even worse damage to the structure, Paris firefighters opted to deploy drones and a robot called Colossus.
Deals

Amazon slashes prices on Ecovacs Deebot robot vacuums for one day only

Amazon cut prices of two Ecovacs Deebot robot vacuums for Deals of the Day. Robot vacuums have convinced millions of their value. I bought an Ecovacs Deebot as a family gift, and after a couple of weeks my wife said, "Best gift ever."
Emerging Tech

Adidas has created a running shoe that’s made to be remade

Adidas has unveiled the Futurecraft Loop running shoe that it claims is the first performance footwear to be 100% recyclable. The shoe is the latest green initiative by the sportswear company and will go on sale in 2021.
Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.
Emerging Tech

NASA is building an inflatable space robot named King Louie

NASA is funding an inflatable robot called King Louie which could travel to the stars in deflated form and then be blown up when and where required. Here is why that's so exciting.
Emerging Tech

Yale scientists restore cellular activity in a pig’s brain hours after its death

In what some may view as a porcine version of Frankenstein, Yale University scientists have restored circulation and cellular activity in a pig’s brain four hours after its death. The study is likely to be used to study brain function
Emerging Tech

Russia’s robot news anchor gives human TV presenters hope

Human news anchors anxious about robots taking their jobs will be feeling reassured this week after the appearance on Russian TV of a news-reading android that clearly needs a bit of work.
Emerging Tech

U.S. police are testing out Batman-style bola guns to catch criminals

U.S. police are taking a page out of Batman’s playbook with a new grappling hook gun, called the BolaWrap, which fires out a kevlar cord able to tie up assailants in the blink of an eye.
Emerging Tech

U.S., U.K. embrace autonomous robot spy subs that can stay at sea for months

Unmanned, autonomous robot spy submarines that are able to stay at sea for months at a time may be coming to both the United States and its ally across the pond, the U.K. Here's what we know so far.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook data security, Ubisoft helps Notre Dame, and more

Join DT Live as we discuss Facebook security issues, Ubisoft's plan to help rebuild Notre Dame, and more. We are also joined by Emily Teteut of Snap the Gap, Jennifer Sendrow of New York Public Radio, and DJ and producer Zeke Thomas.
Emerging Tech

Meet the gene-edited bacteria that could make cannabis plants obsolete

Ever wanted to brew cannabis like you brew craft beer? At UC Berkeley, biologists have managed to engineer brewer’s yeast so that it produces the main cannabinoids found in marijuana.
Emerging Tech

Planet-hunting satellite discovers its first Earth-sized planet

NASA's planet hunting satellite, TESS, has made a new discovery. Last month the satellite discovered its first exoplanet. And now it has achieved another milestone, locating its first Earth-sized planet and a larger sibling planet.