The interesting thing about technology is that new technology often spawns counter technology. Such is the case with drones as law enforcement is responding with ways to take down drones. In part 5 of our series, we find that technology is not the only answer for downing drones. Birds of prey are also being used.
A new technology uses radio control to take down a drone, known as the DronedefenderTM it is a communications jamming “rifle” that doesn’t fire bullets. Instead, it overpowers the drone taking command away from the pilot. “Targeted” towards restricted air space, the device is good to 1300 feet. The good news is it doesn’t destroy the drone. The bad news is that it can cause the operator to lose the drone. With the penalties of unregistered drones approaching three years in prison and $250,000 in fines, that could be the least of one’s worries. The first article in this series on drones, The Drone Dilemma, Part 1: The Lack of Bandwidth and Signal Strength, focused on a new technology that could keep drones immune from jamming due to ultrafast signal transmission. At the time of this writing, investors still seem more interested in funding incremental software changes over disruptive hardware advances.
Jamming is also being extended to stationary locations such as the Whitehouse. The military has developed weaponry against drone attacks. These weapons either jam the drone or shoot it down. The options for jamming include disabling, taking control, or taking them off course. One weapon that is of interest is the laser. A laser defense system is being developed by a German company, Rheinmetall Defense Electronics. This system will use four, high energy lasers.
Technology is at risk when a drone is shot down. Iran claimed it shot down a US drone in 2011. It was reported that they had reverse engineered the technology. The Pentagon refuted the claim in 2014 saying the Iranian drone was nowhere near as capable.
Other methods have been used to disable drones as well. One singer named Enrique Iglesias snatched a drone out of the sky during a concert. It turns out that this was not a smart move as he ended up in the hospital with a severe laceration. Reports of protestors taking down drones by swiping it out of the sky with a t-shirt also have been published.
One of the most interesting stories has been the use of eagles to take down drones. Birds of prey have long enabled man to pursue game without the use of traditional weaponry. Now the Dutch police are training them to snatch drones out of the sky. With many drones sporting sharp, whirling propellers, there is no doubt animal rights activists will be stepping in on this subject.
As the old saying states, “What goes up, must come down.” As engineers, there is opportunity for new designs in that latter part of that statement. I’m sure the ingenuity of Planet Analog readers will spawn new technologies as time progresses. Or maybe there will just be a similar ending for the drone as there was for the mail delivery robot. As the story goes, it was so obnoxious that engineers programmed it to commit suicide by accelerating down a very long hallway until it broke through the window at the end falling to its death. After all, engineers make for good pranksters. RIP Bob Pease, we picked up where you left off.
- “Anti-Drone Rifle Uses Unbelievable Tech to Take Down Drones (VIDEO)”
- “New rifle shoots drones out of the sky without firing a single bullet” By Zach Epstein on Oct 16, 2015 at 9:20 AM
- “Dutch police are training eagles to take out drones” By James Vincent, February 1, 2016 08:32 am
- “Enrique Iglesias Injures Hand Grabbing Drone During Concert”, BY DANIEL KREPS May 31, 2015
- “The Drone Dilemma: Lack of Bandwidth & Signal Strength” Scott Deuty, Power, Analog Engineer
- “SECRET SERVICE TRIES JAMMING DRONE SIGNALS NEAR WHITE HOUSE; A NO FLY ZONE WITHIN A NO FLY ZONE” By Kelsey D. Atherton Posted March 10, 2015
- “New Weapons Spell Death For Drones; The Countermeasure Dance” By COLIN CLARK on October 13, 2014 at 4:42 PM
- “Lasers And Electronic Warfare To Be Used In New World Of Drones And Anti-Drones,” Nicholas West SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
- “‘No way!’: Pentagon trashes Iranian replica of US drone,” no author listed, 13 Nov, 2014 17:32
, 12/10/2015 08:30 AM EST