Catching drones gone rogue

January 19, 2016 | 14:01
Catching drones gone rogue
Catching drones gone rogue
The proliferation of consumer-grade drones has placed a new tool in the hands of people with mischievous intent. Unmanned aerial vehicles can be used to transport dangerous payloads such as explosives, disrupt air traffic or to invade private spaces. Last week a man in the United States was convicted for attempting to smuggle contraband into a Maryland state prison with the use of a drone.

To be able to defend against drones gone rogue, Dr. Mohammad Rastgaar, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan Technological University, and his team developed a drone that can catch renegade drones with a net. The idea came to him when he heard snipers were deployed during the FIFA World Cup to shoot down drones should they pose a threat to the public.

“I thought, ‘If the threat is a drone, you really don’t want to shoot it down—it might contain explosives and blow up. What you want to do is catch it and get it out of there’”, Rastgaar told Michigan Tech News.

Rastgaar's Drone-Catcher, which can be operated by a pilot on the ground or function autonomously, chases the intruding drone and shoots out a wide net to ensnare it. “What makes this unique is that the net is attached to our catcher, so you can retrieve the rogue drone or drop it in a designated, secure area,” Rastgaar said. “It’s like robotic falconry.”
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