The objective here isn't to have a copter autonomously wandering city streets, detaining suspects until the police arrive (though the device could theoretically handle such a task). Instead, due to legal requirements, the drone is operated by a pilot, who flies the craft manually, with a second person tasked with triggering the stun gun. Eventually, such a device could be used to aid police in subduing a suspect until officers are able to arrive on the scene. An embedded camera provides a live video feed to operators, who can evaluate the situation before deciding to strike. Since a public park demonstration would likely result in some pretty stirred-up locals, Chaotic Moon invited us up to its Austin offices for a closed-door session during SXSW.
Intern Jackson Sheehan volunteered to be CUPID's first human victim, and after a quick vitals check by an on-site paramedic, he was cleared for duty. The affair lasted just a hair over five seconds -- the device can stun several times in up to 10-second bursts, but the company's attorneys mandated that Chaotic Moon co-founder William Hurley (@Whurley) manually pull the plug after half that time. Sheehan was clearly subdued by the drone, falling onto safety mats against his will. He stood up shortly after, and was on his way after the paramedic removed the barbed leads from his back. We caught the whole ordeal on camera, of course; the video is embedded for your viewing pleasure just below.
Sarah Silbert contributed to this report.