Eagles, with the ability to catch smaller birds flying at extremely fast speed, might be the perfect anti-drone solutions available. Drones are becoming so prevalent that measures are needed to control them. Recently there was news that many flying drones almost collided with aeroplanes in Britain although it is not clear whether such near-accidents have also happened in other countries or not. There are already legal restrictions on flying drones in the USA.
With rising incidence of flying drones playing havoc with the safety of general public, the Dutch national police force has begun training eagles to catch and intercept troublemaking drones during an emergency, especially when using another drone to bring down the illegal drone might pose further risk.
Powerful drones are becoming affordable with every passing day. As they go mainstream, mischievous people will think up ways to use them to cause trouble and even create law and order situation. Counter drones are already being used at many places. There are also radio jammers that can stop the engine of a flying drone. A net can also be thrown upon a drone to get it under control. But the best way, it seems, according to this Wired report, would be to use the majestic eagle to hunt down flying drones.
Why use eagles to catch illegal drones when there are other means available?
As mentioned above, counter-drones can be used. The GPS and radio signal can be shut off and in many instances, the illegal drones can also be shot at. But all these measures are fraught with danger. By mistake you can shoot someone else. When GPS and radio signals a shot off, they are shut off for everybody in the vicinity. A jammed drone may fall on someone’s head and cause serious injury.
An eagle on the other hand is the safest bet. The bird of prey is already used to catching in the skies. It can catch in its powerful talons extremely fast flying birds with precision. It can then bring down the drone safely to the ground.
The training of eagles to catch illegal drones is in a nascent stage. There might be bigger drones and many of the drones can be equipped with dangerous weapons, not only threatening the people nearby, but also injuring the bird. This is why logistics need to be considered and the eagles need to be trained accordingly.
Here is a video of an eagle being trained to catch a drone: