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Culture

Oh, look! A drone that fires a gun

Technically Incorrect: YouTube has been adorned with a slightly scary video of a drone that has a mounted handgun. Surely this isn't legal, even if it's real.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Soon flying around your neighborhood? Hogwit/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Once upon a time, it was popular to get someone else to do your dirtiest work for you.

You know, like killing an enemy or merely breaking their legs.

With technology, however, you don't need to risk human lives -- not the lives of those you know, anyway. You can send a drone up over a person (or a country) you happen not to like and fire away.

Now a video has emerged onto YouTube that personalizes this experience. It is blessedly short, but it shows what appears to be a homemade drone with a handgun mounted upon it.

The person who posted it -- known as Hogwit -- claims that the length of the whole contraption is over 26 inches.

The gun fires four times in the video -- apparently in a remote woodland area, and apparently not at anyone -- but no other details have so far emerged. There's no actual proof, indeed, that this is real, or any hint of whether it's an attempt at offbeat filmmaking.

And then there's the question of whether it could be remotely legal.

In 2013, the FAA's drone regulator Jim Williams was quoted as saying: "We currently have rules in the books that deal with releasing anything from an aircraft, period. Those rules are in place and that would prohibit weapons from being installed on a civil aircraft."

I sent the video to the FAA and asked what specific rules might forbid this sort of have-gun-will-fly contraption. An FAA spokesman told me: "The FAA will investigate the operation of an unmanned aircraft system in a Connecticut park to determine if any Federal Aviation Regulations were violated. The FAA will also work with its law enforcement partners to determine if there were any violations of criminal statutes."

It's not as if we don't have enough guns floating about and doing unnecessary damage already. Every day seems to bring a new gun-related incident that makes one inevitably think that if guns hadn't been involved, lives wouldn't have been lost.

Please imagine, though, how it might be if your neighborhood was suddenly patrolled by gun-mounted drones, there to protect you, to search for criminals or to deliver your Amazon Prime Day purchases.

Wait, that's the (near) future I'm describing, isn't it?

Update, 1:10 p.m. PT: With comment from the FAA.

(Via Wired UK)