Eagles vs drones: A low-tech solution for a high-tech problem?
The Dutch National Police is aware that the use of drones – and the number of drones incidents – is only going to increase as time goes by. So, they are trying to find ways to take them down without endangering people.
As Mark Wiebe, the innovation manager of the National Police Unit noted, there are situations in which drones are not allowed to fly. For example, if a drone blocks an air ambulance from landing, there has to be an effective and safe way for the police to remove the drone.
The police is looking into electronic solutions to intercept or jam the communication between a hostile drone and its operator so that they could take control of the drone themselves, and using drones with nets to “capture” the hostile drone, but they are also testing to see whether eagles could do the job better.
So they have contacted Guard From Above, a Dutch company specialized in training different kinds of birds of prey to intercept hostile drones of varying types and sizes.
“The animal instinct of a bird of prey is unique. They are made to be able to overpower fast-moving prey,” the company explains.
But they are mindful of the fact that the birds could get hurt by the drones.
“In nature, birds of prey often overpower large and dangerous prey. Their talons have scales, which protect them, naturally, from their victims’ bites. Of course, we are continuously investigating any extra possible protective measures we can take in order to protect our birds,” they added.
“The Dutch National Police has asked the Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) to research the possible impact on the birds’ claws. The results are not yet known. We are working closely with the Dutch National Police on the development of our services.”
Here is a demonstration of the birds at work: