Taser International has renamed themselves Axon. The Scottsdale, Arizona company, which has a monopoly on “projectile conductive energy devices” used by law enforcement worldwide, has decided to switch focus from arming law enforcement to monitoring them with their Axon line of Body Cameras and their Evidence.com subscription service for law enforcement organizations.
The original Taser was invented by Jack Cover in 1969. It used smokeless powder to fire electrical probes and was classified as a firearm by the BATFE. The brothers that founded Taser International in the early 1990s worked with Jack Cover to develop an improved version, the Air Taser, that used gas cartridges rather than chemical propellant to fire electrodes.
In 1999 they released the iconic pistol-style Taser X26 that created an entirely new market of less lethal weapons worldwide. Taser has a monopoly in an industry where new entrants are scared off by lawsuits and the inevitable bad press. We know of one company, JIUN-AN TECHNOLOGY in Taiwan, who are manufacturing a competitor, the bulky Raysun X-1, but we know of no law enforcement agencies who have adopted it.
Taser entered the Police Body Camera market in 2008 and in 2015 spun it into a separate division named Axon. Their Axon Flex 2 camera attaches to either ballistic glasses or headgear. Data recorded from the devices are uploaded to Evidence.com where AI technology analyzes the videos and can automatically transcribe details from drivers licenses and other documents an officer is likely to encounter.
Today Taser International announced that the company itself was being renamed Axon. They said “to reflect the evolution of our company from a less-lethal weapons manufacturing company to a full solutions provider of cloud and mobile software, connected devices, wearable cameras, and now artificial intelligence.” The company also announced a program where they will loan body cameras to any US Law Enforcement Organization for a period of one year.