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The Military United Kingdom News Science Technology

High-Tech 'Bazooka' Fires a Net To Take Down Drones (bgr.com) 180

An anonymous reader writes: The brainchild of U.K.-based OpenWorks Engineering, SkyWall 100 uses a compressed air launcher to fire smart projectiles at targeted drones. The system, which has a range of 328 feet, uses a high-tech scope to lock on to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). An onboard computer then tracks the target's flight path and calculates the trajectory required for the projectile to intercept either a hovering or flying drone. The canister-style projectile opens up when it reaches the drone and uses a net to capture the flying device. The projectile then deploys a parachute to bring the captured drone and the canister components safely back to the ground. "Once captured it can be impounded, forensically investigated or simply handed back with some words of education where appropriate," OpenWorks Engineering explained, adding that the risk of damaging the drone is also reduced.
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High-Tech 'Bazooka' Fires a Net To Take Down Drones

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  • Just use a shotgun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @12:13AM (#51651213)
    1) Cheap
    2) Birdshot won't kill anyone
    3) You don't have to worry as much about the "return of property" or "educate the user" hassles afterword
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I found the drone pilot and shot him in the face with a shotgun. The drone crashed which is great, but what do I do with the body???

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I found the drone pilot and shot him in the face with a shotgun. The drone crashed which is great, but what do I do with the body???

        Eat it.

    • by Catmeat ( 20653 ) <mtmNO@SPAMsys.uea.ac.uk> on Monday March 07, 2016 @07:01AM (#51652229)
      I agree completely. drones are fairly delicate so even the finest grade of birdshot would do enough damage to bring one down. However gun laws make shotguns an issue in the UK. The police are generally happy to give out licenses to people without criminal records, who can prove a need for one, either for sport or for work.

      However, imagine there was a huge A-lister wedding happening at some outdoor location, like a remote Scottish castle. The organizers would be desperate to keep away the public's and the paparazzi's drones (there'll be a buyer for the pictures already lined up, who will want exclusivity).

      However, I would suspect there would be liability, police and major PR issues of they ringed the event with shotgun-armed security people. This kit is an alternative that seems just what's needed. Security would quietly bring down the pap's drone and hand it back to its owner, along with their profuse apologies for "accidentally" standing one it when it was being recovered.
  • by germansausage ( 682057 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @12:16AM (#51651225)

    I don't know why, but news organizations everywhere do this and it makes me want to stab them over and over with a fondue fork. Somebody said it had a range of about 100 m. Somebody else converted it to feet, without any thought that this was an approximate measurement. About 100 m is about 300 feet, or maybe about 350 feet, but it is not 328 feet.

    • or at least say 100 yards.

    • by khchung ( 462899 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:41AM (#51651713) Journal

      Significant figures is probably too deep a concept to be taught to journalist majors.

      Ditto for the fact that using yards for meters would be better for approximate conversions.

    • by Calydor ( 739835 )

      It goes the other way, too. I am so frustrated when 'a mile down the road' gets translated to literally 1.61 km. Just say one and a half, dammit.

    • That's why body temperature is 98.6 degrees F. It was 37 C in the original study, which correctly reported error bars. But it showed up in US medical texts as 98.6 and now moms freak out if their precious snowflake is 99.0.

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

        To be fair though, those same moms would freak out if their precious snowflake was 37.2 degrees C when they should only be 37 degrees C.

      • My wife and I freaked out when our youngest hit 99, but we had good reason. He's had a ton of febrile seizures - including one where he turned grey, stopped breathing and didn't start up again until after he had rescue breaths administered. (Scariest moment of my life, by the way.) We knew his body temperature tended on the low side so 99 meant he was beginning to get a fever and we needed to act fast to make sure he didn't experience another seizure.

    • Somebody said it had a range of about 100 m. Somebody else converted it to feet, without any thought that this was an approximate measurement. About 100 m is about 300 feet, or maybe about 350 feet, but it is not 328 feet.

      Have to remove mod point and want to point out something...

      Approximation is nice, but you are a bit off in number. What you said is that 1 yard is approximately equal to 1 meter. That's about 10% off. 1 meter is longer than 1 yard. Now let's see. 1 yard is 3 feet. 1 foot is 12 inches. 1 inch is around 2.54 cm. So 100 meter would be around 328 feet ((10000/2.54) / 12).

      TFA said it is about 100m which is already an approximation. If you approximate an approximation, it could lead to something difference (tend

      • 1 inch is around 2.54 cm.

        Actually, 1 inch is exactly 2.54 cm, according to the NIST.

      • A 10% difference is one more digit of precision, which isn't warranted here.

        • A 10% difference is one more digit of precision, which isn't warranted here.

          Depends on what you are talking about. In other words, sometimes the ACTUAL NUMBER is MORE important that the RATIO, and vice versa. Also, for some people, actual number is more important than ratio, and vice versa. In this case, to me, 28 feet are quite significant in distance compared to 300 feet.

          • Yes, but you don't know whether that 28 feet are real or not. 300 feet is about 90m, and if I were thinking "about 75-125m", I'd likely express it as about 100m, which includes 90m. 330 feet would imply about 97-103m, which may be a lot more precise than is warranted. If it turned out that the range is 90m, it wouldn't surprise the person who read "about 100m", while it would surprise the person who read "about 330 feet".

            Round numbers typically don't translate well between measuring systems.

    • "Journalists" do this because they think the American public is too stupid to use metric so everything needs to be converted to imperial. They Google "how many feet is 100 meters", get 328.084 feet, chop off the decimal (because Americans are too stupid for decimal places too), and report this as the exact distance.

      By the way, I use the quotes around the word journalists because people who do this aren't real journalists. Sadly, real journalists are becoming rarer and rarer. Most people who call themselv

      • "Journalists" do this because they think the American public is too stupid to use metric so everything needs to be converted to imperial. They Google "how many feet is 100 meters", get 328.084 feet, chop off the decimal (because Americans are too stupid for decimal places too), and report this as the exact distance.

        By the way, I use the quotes around the word journalists because people who do this aren't real journalists. Sadly, real journalists are becoming rarer and rarer. Most people who call themselves journalists today just take a press release or AP/Reuters wire story, tweak a few words, and publish it. These "journalists" are like script kiddies who download a program, point it at a website, break in, and declare themselves an uber hacker. They might call themselves something (hacker/journalist), but their lack of actual skills shows that they really aren't what they say they are.

        Americans are quite intelligent. We learn both the metric and the old imperial system. We don't dumb our brains down to only learn a system based on 10's. Why did you have to google this number when most Americans can do it in their head?

        • Two things:

          1) I'm American as well. I learned both systems, but the Imperial system is the one used in day-to-day life so it's easy for adults to forget the metric units unless they use them consistently. (e.g. They work as a physicist and constantly reference units in metric.) Honestly, I don't remember most Imperial->Metric conversions by heart so I use Google to refresh my memory whenever I need to.

          2) My comment was about journalists assuming that Americans would be baffled by metric units. Even i

    • 328.083989.........

      because math!!!

    • Why do you have a Fondue fork?

    • About 100 m is about 300 feet, or maybe about 350 feet, but it is not 328 feet.

      I'd say the best approximation is either 110 yards, or 325 feet (yes, they're different). 110 yards has about the right mount of significance from a decimal point of view. 325 looks like a round number, much more so than either 320 or 330.

    • I can't believe none of you have figured out the significance of the "328 feet" figure. Like a taser, its projectile (net) is clearly tethered... in this case with a Cat5 cable.
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @12:18AM (#51651229)
    Now that the FAA is referring to even tiny 9-ounce plastic toys as aircraft that require a permit to operate even for recreation, this introduces some conflicts. The FAA doesn't generally like interference with aircraft. In that context, downing a four pound GoPro-equipped UAS taking landscape photos isn't really any different than shooting down a Cessna. The FAA needs to sort out its language in this area.
    • I just wonder when they will make the drone equivalent of a lowrider with extra bouncing capability to counter this...

    • by fred911 ( 83970 )

      It's a little stronger than "doesn't like", it's against federal law.

      18 USC ss 32
      (a) Whoever willfully

      (1) sets fire to, damages, destroys, disables, or wrecks any aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States or any civil aircraft used, operated, or employed in interstate, overseas, or foreign air commerce; ...shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years or both.

      • I don't think many consumer-grade drones are going to be "employed in interstate, overseas, or foreign air commerce".

        • According to a very old Supreme Court decision, basically anything is interstate commerce because it COULD POSSIBLY affect interstate commerce.
  • by jsse ( 254124 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @12:23AM (#51651239) Homepage Journal
    Why not just intercepts the intruder drone with other drone [dailymail.co.uk]?
  • my drone's better than yours. my drone's better 'cause it fires Take Down. my drone's better than yours.
  • Then have countermeasures available to deflect the anti-drone measure.

    If caught, record and remotely save footage that helps identify the vandal who decided to take down a drone.

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @01:30AM (#51651411)

    "Once captured it can be..." reprogrammed and armed with explosives, in order to carry out a different mission than its owner intended. Yay, for capture devices!

  • by Daniel Matthews ( 4112743 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @01:32AM (#51651413)
    All of these ideas are over engineered yet lame, do the designers even role play possible scenarios before starting on a design? Haven't any of them seen these? https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] or this https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] A $1000 solution that is countered by a swarm of $20 drones is useless. Wouldn't it be easier to have a way of deploying a large number of small cheap drones with tangle lines and pull-out parachutes? You just launch them one after the other until all of your targets are eliminated. Given the noise (both types) that comes from a drone they probably could be auto targeting too if they have a neural network trained to ignore their own noise profile, therefore moronic assumptions like the target not moving are not required. Nothing could get away from something as fast as this this, https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    • Depends on what you are trying to block. This will not work in a military situation with thousands of small drones, sure, but maybe it's not their market.
      This seems more targeted at "peeping" drones, i.e. a single individual (or a few people) having a single drone each with some video equipment. So a few rather big, rather expensive drones. It might work.

  • The system, which has a range of 328 feet

    Wow, that's quite specific.

    I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that 328 feet is what you get if you convert 100 metres to stoopid.

  • Add a sensor to the drone that sees the net coming. Program the drone to automatically dodge. Problem solved.
    • Small problem with that -

      The drone typically has a (very) finite carrying capacity. Folks on the ground are under no such limitations.

  • Why a parachute if all they're going to do is figure out who the idiot is that was flying the drone? You don't need to have the drone be in good condition to figure out who owns it.

    If the drone happens to break as the result of its fall then maybe the idiot shouldn't have had the drone in the area in the first place.

    But I'm sure someone will give an excuse why personal responsibility doesn't enter into the equation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ScentCone ( 795499 )
      If your car breaks as a result of a crash, is that a sign you shouldn't own one? No? I see.

      Most small UAS platforms run on highly energetic and notoriously fragile LiPo batteries. Falling from even a few meters can be enough to damage them and potentially start a fire that can seriously damage (and even mostly consume) the device in question. If the operator is compliant with the FAA's silly new rules and has his Super Official No Really I Didn't Write Someone Else's On It FAA Registration Number written
  • Then you could mount it on a drone!
  • to have something that locates/goes after the transmitter, not the drone.

  • Next will be an anti drone-bazooka device.

Never let someone who says it cannot be done interrupt the person who is doing it.

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