By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — The San Francisco Board of Supervisors made headlines last week when it approved a new policy allowing police to deploy robots with deadly force in certain emergency situations. The board approved the policy in a split 8-3 vote last week, but on Tuesday , the board voted unanimously, for now, to ban the use of robots to kill people.
The board sent the issue back to a committee for further review.
The initial costs for the San Francisco Police Department to acquire robots totaled under $1 million, according to an inventory sheet reviewed by The Center Square.
According to an inventory sheet by the San Francisco Police Department, the initial costs of the robots vary from as little as $9,840 for a throwable micro-robot purchased in 2012, to as high as $267,955 for a robot the size of a riding lawn mower that was bought in 2012. The police department owns 17 robots in total, though five are not functioning.
In total, the initial costs of the robots totaled nearly $861,850, according to the SFPD inventory sheet. The department confirmed to The Center Square that this total is accurate. The police estimate the cost to maintain the various police robots is estimated to be $1,445 a year.
The total initial costs for the robots as recorded on the police inventory sheet totaled less than the cost of a public toilet in San Francisco, which has reportedly cost the city $1.7 million and caused a controversy earlier this year.
The city has already purchased seven models of robots between 2010 and 2017. The city estimates that robots have a lifespan of 8-10 years and five of the city’s previously purchased robots have already reached or exceeded that lifespan.
News-Press Managing Editor Dave Mason and Center Square Managing Editor Tom Gantert contributed reporting for this story.