One would have to be quite an expert marksman to shoot a drone out of the sky with a traditional rifle. Firing a bullet with a diameter of around 7 mm and hitting an airborne drone from hundreds of meters away is obviously no simple task. However a brand new rifle unveiled earlier this week might be a game changer for people and organizations seeking to defend their privacy and security by fending off snooping drones, and it doesn’t even fire a single bullet.
An Ohio-based nonprofit research and development corporation Battelle last week unveiled a 4.5kg gadget it calls the DroneDefender, which it says is “the first portable, accurate, rapid-to-use counter-weapon to stop suspicious or hostile drones in flight, offering critical security protection at home and abroad.” Whereas it’s not a weapon within the conventional sense, it represents an enormous step in the battle against undesirable drone activity.
The DroneDefender is a shoulder-mounted, rechargeable rifle-like weapon that takes drones, or UAVs, offline with a blast of radio waves. The rifle fires waves of electromagnetic energy tuned to common GPS and ISM frequencies, disabling the UAV by blocking it from receiving commands.
Radio waves from a DroneDefender should activate the disabled drone’s safety protocol, making it hover, land or return to its point of origin.
Battelle says the defender could be used to protect prisons, schools or historical sites and of course has military and law enforcement applications as well. No information on the price of the DroneDefender has yet been released, but the device is expected to go on sale in 2016.
There’s a battle against undesirable drone activity?
While the term “drone” has lately had its scope extended to incorporate a variety of simple radio controlled quadcopters aimed at recreational use, not all drones are fun and enjoyable little devices. Drones are used frequently as invasive tools meant to spy on people, or top-secret business operations or even smuggle contraband in the prison. Beyond that, the military, governments and law enforcement are also sometimes targeted by spy drones on reconnaissance missions.
The DroneDefender may be our first look at the right anti-drone technology. The gadget, which appears like a contemporary rifle with an antenna mechanism hooked up to the front — because that’s basically what it is — makes use of targeted radio waves to force the drones out of the sky. This non-destructive technology “utilizes a non-kinetic solution to defend airspace up to 400 meters against UAVs, such as quadcopters and hexacopters, without compromising safety or risking collateral.”
Regulations in many areas obviously prohibit individuals from firing conventional weapons at drones as a method of protection, so the DroneDefender rifle could possibly be a perfect workaround. The device’s current range of about 400 meters will probably be enhanced in future variations.
“This is just the kind of tool we need to safely counter a drone threat,” stated Battelle’s lead researcher Dan Stamm. “The DroneDefender can help protect us from those that may want to do us harm.”
“It can help us in numerous settings, from the White House lawn to bases and embassies abroad; from prisons and colleges to historic sites,” Alex Morrow, the technical director, added. “It easily and reliably neutralizes the threat.”
The video embedded below is a demo of the DroneDefender in action. While the demo is simulated because of federal laws in the U.S., Battelle notes that it has been successfully tested within the field many times. The video has been set to private and information regarding this topic no longer seems to be available on Battelle’s website and the URL http://www.battelle.org/media/press-releases/rogue-drones-have-met-their-match has now been deleted and is given a 404 error. Hmm, that is curious We’ll update you after we get a word from them 🙂
@GadgTecs We temporarily removed info related to Drone Defender while we evaluate its permissible applications under current regulations.