Dutch Police Are Training Eagles to Murder Illegal Drones
Birds of prey taking down a flying machine? Goddamn majestic.
Drones near airports. Near firefighters. Near the Super Bowl. They’re illegal in these settings, sure, but how do you take them out safely? A Dutch firm claims it has the answer. Guard From is working with the Dutch National Police using trained raptors to target consumer-sized drones and knock them out of the sky. Yes, raptors, as in “birds of prey.” Like a goddamn majestic eagle.
Background: The Dutch National Police say that they’re concerned about drones used for criminal purposes and have been working on ways to prevent unwanted drone use. In a release, Mark Wiebe, innovation manager of the National Police, cites incidents with ambulatory helicopters and interference from drones. “There are situations in which drones are not allowed to fly. This is almost always to do with security,” says Wiehe. But he adds that finding the drone operator can be next to impossible. Enter, the drone-fighting bird that swoops in and yanks the drone down, dropping it somewhere safely away from human beings.
In the U.S., however, it’s questionable whether using raptors to take down drones would be legal, even by local law enforcement. Technically the skies are the jurisdiction of the FAA, and the FAA alone; some inventions we’ve seen—such as the Drone Defender, which overwhelms a drone’s flight systems with electronic jamming—could be seen as interfering with the flight of an aircraft. Which is a federal crime, even if it’s cops doing the deed.
Using a raptor to take down a drone could run into similar legal hurdles. And there’s another challenge: Training the birds to avoid being injured by whirring blades. For now, Dutch police say they’re just evaluating the Guards from Above option and that no decision has been made yet on deployment.
But, for now, just watch this video. Then show everyone you know. Because drone-killing eagle.