Aviation geeks are saying a drone could have the same crippling effects to a commercial aircraft as a bird strike potentially killing power to an engine. Maybe that’s why a British Airways pilot is feeling relieved after landing his Airbus 320 safely at Heathrow airport following a collision with a recreational drone while on final approach. The first known drone versus aircraft collision.
How we defend skies near commercial airports coming into focus now. Anti-drone technologies are getting smarter and coming to market fast. While unique anti-drone solutions like the one being tested in the Netherlands become more reasonable to consider.
1) THE AMERICAN BALD EAGLE HUNTS DRONE
Dutch law enforcement innovators are training bald eagles to see drones as prey and hunt them down. The idea is that a some well-trained eagles could be released near big gatherings, sensitive locations like airports or nuclear power stations to take out threatening drones.
2) DRONE DEFENDER RIFLE
Three more militaristic approaches to anti-drone technology are surfacing as top players as the world meets a dangerous drone reality. While Tokyo police are now deploying a dedicated anti-drone squad (wonder what what that logo would look like?), here in the U.S. the Department of Defense and Homeland Security have recently bought just shy of 100 DroneDefender rifles. This first person shooter portable rifle disrupts the flight of an UAV within 400 meters by targeting a rogue drone with radio frequency disruption that brings the drone back down to earth.
3) DRONE DEATH RAY
The Drone “Death Ray” can disable a drone from up to 5 miles away. This seriously intense-looking solution was developed in the UK and is distributed in the U.S. by LitEye in Colorado. This is a less portable solution but is the world’s first fully integrated anti-drone defense system. The Anti-UAV Defense System, better known by its slang name “Drone Death Ray” will detect, track, classify and disrupt the threat of malicious drones and is now in production.
4) PARACHUTE PAYLOAD
Neutralizing the drone’s control signal shows promise and so does a method to disrupt drones with a net for physical capture. After all, in order for police to investigate the operator behind a misbehaving drone, it starts with capturing the evidence in one piece. That’s what Drone SkyWall defense net does from a shoulder fired launcher. A net deploys to intercept a moving drone target and deploys a parachute for a soft landing.
5) HACK THE DRONE HIJACK TECH
The newest antidrone technology has just taken in a seed finance round of $3M+ from its San Diego origin. SafeSky can hack and hijack a rogue drone bringing it back to earth safetly. It’s leadership hails from MIT and served with drones in the U.S. Air Force while also working with cyber security.
The problem with rogue drones continues to grow. Essentially there are two threats. 1) Good people doing goofy things making drones unsafe and then 2) Bad people doing scary unimaginable things like weaponizing commercial drones. It’s time we figure out who is who and get some leverage over dangerous drones.
And since I travel a lot and we happen to see each other at an airport in the future, are you going be as freaked out as I will be feeling when we witness a giant shoulder launcher weapon firing into the air near our flight?