While governments and law enforcement continue to grapple with the ominous potential of drones, the solution looks likes it could actually be much more simple and archaic than imagined.
The Dutch police have joined forces with Guards From Above, a firm in The Hague who specialize in training birds of prey for private security, to help protect the skies from rogue drones. With some training, the eagles recognize the drones as prey, which they then disable with their talons and return to a safe place.
So far, the project is just a trial, with the police assessing whether they want a full fleet of drone-busting birds of prey.
Drones are becoming cheaper and more accessible, heightening fears that they could be used by criminals or terrorist groups. In this vein, the Japanese police force has recently announced they will deploy a battalion of anti-drone officers and disabling drones.
“In the future drones will be used increasingly, so [it] will increase the number of incidents involving drones,” the Netherland’s Police said in a statement. “Drones can also be used for criminal purposes.”
The security firm says that the technique they use is not harmful to the birds and is no more dangerous than the scraps they get into with prey in the wild. In fact, their feet are heavily scaled to specifically protect them from sharp bites, slashes, and scratches. Even so, the company is working with the Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) to assess whether the drone propellers affect the bird’s talons.
In a press release, Guards From Above said, “We use the birds’ natural hunting instincts in order to intercept drones. We do this safely, quickly, and accurately.
”The animal instinct of a bird of prey is unique. They are made to be able to overpower fast-moving prey. Sometimes the solution to a hypermodern problem is more obvious than you might think.”