World / Europe

Police train eagles to snatch ‘enemy’ drones

(Agencies) Updated: 2016-02-04 03:37

Police train eagles to snatch ‘enemy’ drones

An eagle clutches a drone before dragging it to the ground in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Researchers are testing the potential impact on the birds’ welfare. [Photo/Agencies]

Dutch police puzzling over how to remove drones that pose a public safety threat are testing a way to get the job done — by using trained eagles.

It’s a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem,” said Dennis Janus, spokesman for the Dutch national police.

The idea arose because amateur use of drones has boomed and police have begun to worry about unlicensed ones flying into off-limit areas around airports or over public events.

Possible solutions the police have studied include shooting nets at the offending drones, remotely hacking them to seize their controls, or taking them out with birds of prey.

People sometimes think it’s a hoax, but it has been very effective so far,” Janus said.

Demonstrating the technique in a video released by police, a four-propeller drone hovers in the middle of a warehouse, colored lights flashing.

Released by her keeper, a white-tailed eagle glides straight toward the drone, clutches it easily in her talons and drags it to the ground.

Sjoerd Hoogendoorn from Guard From Above, a company that is working with police to develop the concept, said the birds must be trained to recognize the drones as prey.

They are rewarded with a piece of meat after each successful foray.

Their talons are strong and tough enough to seize most consumer-grade drones without injury from the blades, he said.

These birds are used to meeting resistance from animals they hunt in the wild, and they don’t seem to have much trouble with the drones,” he said.

The potential impact on the birds’ welfare is being tested by an external scientific research institute.

The real problem we have is that they destroy a lot of drones,” Hoogendoorn said.

Another unknown factor is how the birds will fare in crowded situations, he said.

Police are expected to make a decision by the end of the year on whether to move ahead with using the eagles.

Trudeau visits Sina Weibo
May gets little gasp as EU extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks
Ethiopian FM urges strengthened Ethiopia-China ties
Yemen's ex-president Saleh, relatives killed by Houthis
Most Popular
Hot Topics