The ED-209 from RoboCop and it's potential alternative uses

For those who haven't seen RoboCop recently or at all, this is the ED-209, the Enforcement Droid Series 209.

Credit: RoboCop wiki.
ED-209 was built as both a policing unit and as a possible military weapon. The latter explains why it's armed with three autocannons, a shotgun, and three rockets. Cripes. According to Dick Jones, the movie's antagonist and head of the project that developed the 209, the machines would have been deployed to the streets of Detroit to help wipe out crime before construction of OCP's Delta City was set to begin and if it had been successful, it would have been offered up to the military.

If it had been successful.

Cue gangsta rap playing in the background.
Credit: Future Fiction.

On the plus side, this cleared up his asthma.
Credit: Future Fiction.
It wasn't. However, it did get me thinking about alternate uses for the ED-209, derivative designs based on the original. The two that came to mind was riot control and firefighting.
  • Riot control: The simplest of the two, as it would just be the base model without the cannons. In their place, you would have launchers for rubber bullets and beanbag rounds, and separate ones for tear gas. There would also be dispensers for pepper spray. If these things were built today, I'd add in threat recognition/assessment software that would scan a crowd and if it spots anything categorized as a possible weapon - a rock, brick, club, etc. - it tags that person as a potential hostile and alerts whoever is in charge.
  • Firefighting: This variation is pretty good. Instead of weapons, it's arms would be loaded with fire suppression equipment. Maybe they could even be modded so that they can be hooked up to a water source. I picture these things being trucked to fires and acting like mobile, flame resistant, water cannons, focusing on the major parts of the fire while the firefighters handle the smaller areas and search and rescue. It would also reduce the number of firefighters needed for a fire, so that way each station could handle multiple emergencies at the same time.
As for the original 209, I think it's problem was entirely buggy software. Like I mentioned earlier, these things were going to marketed to the military as well as the police, so presumably it's operating system had programs for both role and since this thing was still in beta, not all of the bugs had been worked out, so as a result, some poor dude gets his chest cavity turned from an innie to an outtie.

Even if the 209 ran perfectly, I still can't see them being used in the same role as a flesh and blood cop. For one thing, how exactly is it supposed to arrest someone? Dick Jones was never clear on that during his presentation. My best guess is that it would hold a person (under threat of obliteration) until a cop picked them up. No, I would use them to protect buildings and areas that likely targets for terrorists and criminals, places like power and water facilities, government buildings, airports, ports, that sort of thing.

Amazingly, despite their flaws, the second RoboCop movie revealed that they were eventually deployed in Detroit and four other American cities and that they were still malfunctioning.

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