Protesting in India? Look out for pepper-spraying drones

quadcopter drone
Add to this a consignment of pepper spray and you'll have yourself a Lucknow pepper-spray drone.
Unruly crowds in the Indian city of Lucknow had better watch out – pepper-spraying drones are on their way.

Lucknow police chief Yashasvi Yadav said this week that a team of cops has just finished flight tests of five recently acquired multi-rotor copters, all of which have been modified to carry the inflammatory spray.

Speaking to news agency AFP in a manner that suggested Yadav was really rather happy with his newly acquired equipment, the police chief said, “The results were brilliant. We have managed to work out how to use it to precisely target the mob in winds and congested areas.”

Yadav described the spray as “very effective in mob control,” adding that it can be administered from different heights “to have maximum results.” From what we know about pepper spray, those “maximum results” will include blurred or temporary loss of sight, a burning sensation on exposed areas, and breathing difficulties.

The new machines, which carry high-res cameras and up to 4.4 pounds (2kg) of spray, each cost around 600,000 rupees ($9,600) and will be ready for use by the start of May. They can be operated remotely to a distance of about 0.6 miles (1km), Yadav said.

The city, whose population of just over two million makes it India’s eighth largest, has had its fair share of protests recently, some of which have been broken up using water cannons. Presumably the pepper spray is a cheaper alternative for the authorities.

We’ve been enjoying some amazing video footage from quadcopters over the last year or so, and marveling at some of the incredible things they can do, but is this where things turn ugly for the multi-rotor machines?

Pepper spray is a common part of a cop’s armory, and is usually administered by hand from a small can or bottle. Spraying it from a drone takes the use of the agent to a whole new level, in every sense of the meaning. The question is, now the idea’s out there, will police departments in other countries soon be placing orders for pepper-spraying drones of their own?

[Via Yahoo]

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