ExxonMobil stopped working on the Tezar drones just as most members of its ethics committee were reportedly about to resign.

A May 24 school shooting in Uvalade, Texas, killed 19 children and two teachers, prompting Exxon to announce last week that it was working on a drone that could be operated remotely by first responders to fire a teaser at a target about 12 meters away. (40 feet).

“In light of the feedback we have received, we are stopping work on this project and re-engaging with key stakeholders to fully explore the best way forward,” CEO Rick Smith said in a statement at https://www.axon.com/ Sunday News / Technology / action-committed-listening-and-teaching.

Earlier, ethics committee member Wael Abd-Almagid told Reuters he and eight of his colleagues were resigning from the 12-member panel, following a rare public outcry from one of the Watchdog groups that had set up some companies in recent years.

The goal of these groups is to gather feedback on emerging technologies such as drones and artificial intelligence (AI) software.

Mr Smith said it was unfortunate that some members had “chosen not to be directly involved in these matters until we had the opportunity to answer their technical questions.”

He said Exxon would “continue to explore different perspectives to help challenge the way we think and to guide other technology options we should consider.”

Exxon, which also sells body cameras and law enforcement software, said in February that about 17,000 of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States include customers.

The company has been exploring the idea of ​​a drone equipped with https://www.wsj.com/articles/taser-explores-concept-of-drone-armed-with-stun-gun-for-police-use-1476994514 since at least 2016. For Taser, and Smith describes how such a drone could stop an active shooter in a graphic novel https://www.flipsnack.com/endofkillingcomic/the-end-of -killing / full-view. html

Abd-Almaged, an associate professor of engineering research at the University of Southern California, said the company first approached its ethics committee about executing a limited number of police pilots with tester-equipped drones, against which members voted eight to four. .

Last Thursday, Exxon announced that it was still working on the technology, hoping to stimulate discussion after the shoot. Its shares have risen about 6% since the announcement.

“In the aftermath of this incident, we have been embroiled in a firearms debate over firearms,” ​​Mr Smith said. “We need new and better solutions.”

Members of the Ethics Council were concerned that the system could be used in situations other than shootings and could exacerbate racial injustice, invade privacy through surveillance, and become more lethal if other weapons were added, Abd-almagedd said.

“What we have now is just dangerous and irresponsible, it is not well thought out and it will have negative social consequences,” he said.

Another member, Macaulay Jordan-McBride, director of advocacy for the policing project at New York University Law School, said last week that the board needed more time to evaluate the concept. The suggestion of non-police use of drones was not valuable, he said.

Formed in 2018, the board has given Axon productive guidance on sensitive technologies such as facial recognition. But according to Jordan-McBride, a law professor at the University of Washington, and his colleague Ryan Callo, the company announced the drone before a formal board report broke with practice.

Board chairman Barry Friedman has also resigned, Abd-Almagedd said. Mr Friedman, who arrived by telephone, said he would be available for comment on Monday.

CEO Smith acknowledged the limitations and uncertainties surrounding the project, noting that a drone without a teaser could be enough to confuse a shooter on its own.

In response to a question posted on the social media service Reddit on Friday, Mr. Smith wrote that the drones could be placed in the hallway and moved around the room in special air. A drone system would cost a school about $ 1,000 a year, he said.

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