THE HAGUE (Web Desk) – Dutch police have joined forces with Guard From Above, a raptor-training security firm based in Netherlands, to keep wayward drones from causing trouble by snatching them out of the sky.
They are using an ingenious, low-cost, totally organic solution to the country’s increasing drone problem – they’re having eagles trained to attack the flying machine as they would their usual prey.
Drones are becoming a major problem all over the world – they block airspace and interfere with official operations like emergency air ambulance landings.
Despite regulations, drone operators are able to get away with misuse. They’re often hidden from view, making it very difficult for authorities to detect their exact position and take action against them.
The Dutch police were looking at tech-based solutions like remotely taking control of drone operating systems, but forcing a drone to autoland could backfire as it could go completely out of control.
Thankfully, raptor training company ‘Guard From Above’ came up with a much better idea – to make use of eagles’ natural hunting instincts.
Guard From Above claims to be the first company in the world to use birds of prey to intercept hostile drones, the Oddity Central reported.
They’re now assisting the Dutch police force to create a fleet of police eagles that are trained to attack and snatch drones in mid-air using their strong talons.
“The eagle sees the drone as its prey,” explained Sjoerd Hoogendoorn, who works for the company. “So he tries to take it to a safe location and guard it once he gets there.”
The practicality of the idea is currently being tested – it’ll be a couple of months before they decide if it’s the best solution or not.
Eagles are highly skilled at mid-air intercepts, so there isn’t much risk of the drone going out of control or falling on people. But with larger drones the safety of the birds could be a concern – their legs or talons might suffer some damage from large carbon fiber parts.
To solve this problem, the company is also working on a protection system for the birds.
In a video the company released over the weekend, an eagle is set loose on a quadcopter hovering inside a training center. The bird swoops down on the drone in midair, snatches it with its talons and carries it to a corner of the facility.
Using birds to take down drones is that latest in a series of attempts to tackle unwanted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In Japan, drones using nets have been developed to capture rogue UAV that might threaten disruptions along flight paths.
A team of British contractors have developed a “death ray” for drones that can disable them in flight.