- Dragan Radovanovic/Business Insider
Responding to the rapid rise of drones, a slew of startups, universities, and defense companies are pioneering technology to detect, deter, or destroy the tiny, remote-controlled flying objects.
Already, uninvited drones have found their way into some of the most sensitive areas in the world, including the grounds of the White House.
There are also a rising number of incidents of airline pilots reporting seeing drones too close for comfort.
The Federal Aviation Administration has been slow to enact new regulations governing drones, but while there are some rules in place, there is very little existent technology to deal with drones that go where they shouldn’t.
Here are some of the best ideas so far.
Police in Japan already have an “anti-drone squad,” Popular Science reported, and their drone-stopping weapon of choice is in fact another drone.
The police-operated drone flies above its target carrying a framed net, tangling up the airborne delinquent and carrying it to safety.
This solution has a particular advantage: it allows police to retrieve the drone if it is carrying a dangerous object or substance.
A drone landed on the roof of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s home carrying a vial of radioactive sand from near the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, making the need to move a trespassing drone to a safe location apparent.
The drone’s pilot claimed the act was a protest of the Japanese government’s decision to reactivate its nuclear power stations after the incident.
After turning himself in to police, the man was sentenced to two years in prison.
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is developing a technology which can identify, jam, or even take control of a drone electronically.
The tech is impressive – the proposed system can identify and jam signal bands used by a drone. It can also take control using GPS spoofing or remote control classification, making it the real life equivalent of that famous sci-fi technology: the tractor beam.
It’s hard to gauge the cost of such an advanced system, but it will certainly be more expensive than a $59.95 drone from Walmart.
Dutch police are training hawks to grab drones
Not interested in reinventing the wheel, Dutch police are relying on an all-natural solution: birds of prey.
They’re training a variety of hawk and eagle species to intercept and grab drones in midair.
Why a variety? Police have yet to determine which type of raptor is best at the job, but early results are apparently promising.
The net gun.
Or net bazooka, really.
British firm Openworks Engineering has developed the Skywall 100, which can fire a projectile containing a net designed to knock a drone out of the sky.
Check out this super serious video of the Skywall 100 in action.
Combining the net gun and the police drone:
A professor at Michigan Tech is developing a drone that uses a net launcher to snatch other drones out of mid air.
While the tech is still very much in the development stage, a recent demonstration video is impressive.
Or you can always do it the old fashioned way: with a shotgun and some good aim.
A Kentucky man became a local celebrity of sorts after he was arrested for shooting down with a shotgun a drone hovering over his property.
William Merideth of Hillview, Kentucky believed the drone was spying on his 16 year old daughter while she sunbathed in their garden.
The drone’s operator claimed he was in fact taking pictures of a friend’s home.
But a Bullitt County judge later ruled that Merideth was in the right – and dismissed all charges.
While the case remained just a local curiosity, the judge’s decision to support Merideth’s right to protect his property and privacy is not exactly supported by current Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
The FAA, which technically controls the airspace in which the drone was flying, has not kept pace with the unprecedented challenges of drones.
The sharp-shooting Kentuckian is not alone: an Oklahoma man also shot down a drone that was registered with the FAA and being used to survey a construction site, and a man in New Jersey is currently facing up to ten years in prison after he shot down a drone over his property.
There’s even a new brand of shotgun shell being marketed for shooting down drones.