New Anti-drone Drone Catches Drones Midair

If you haven’t registered your drone yet, it’s time. Not only has the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration made it mandatory, but it could help you find your favorite quadcopter after it’s been nabbed in mid-air. A Michigan Tech team has developed a drone that can capture an airborne drone with a net.

If you thought Colorado’s small town push for drone hunting licenses sounded dangerous, if not a little stupid, you’re not alone. Michigan Tech’s Dr. Mo Rastgaar first thought of the net-wielding drone after hearing of snipers assigned to shoot down drones that may appear at a World Cup game.

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

Like all things, if a drone is shot out of the air, it will crash into the ground. Ensuring that civilians below remain out of harm’s way borders on impossible, making the in-air capture of threatening drones a safer option.

The drone catcher will be able to function autonomously, with human control, or both. This would mean, if the technology fell into the wrong hands, a thief could grab drones from the sky with ease. This makes it more important than ever to not only register your drone, but enable GPS features if available.

This draws attention to the emerging trend of drones being used by law enforcement. The likelihood of this new drone being utilized by police is high, with Rastgaar suggesting that it could be used to capture unregistered drones. Despite a push to change legislation, police drones don’t currently require a warrant to search private areas from above. Will this mean that drone seizure won’t require one either? Will drones be used to patrol areas of high crime indicated by crime mapping? Will these drones be able to capture more than just other drones? That remains to be seen.