Drones

Drone-free: 7 ways to fortify your own personal airspace

Judging by the technology on this list, someone somewhere thinks there’s an anti-drone buck to be had
Judging by the technology on this list, someone somewhere thinks there’s an anti-drone buck to be had
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Battelle’s DroneDefender fires radio waves in a 30-degree cone
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Battelle’s DroneDefender fires radio waves in a 30-degree cone
Though DroneShield can’t actually fell drones, as a detection aid it’s billed as a first line of drone defense
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Though DroneShield can’t actually fell drones, as a detection aid it’s billed as a first line of drone defense
The Army Cyber Institute’s Captain Brent Chapman built his own anti-drone rifle with about US$150 worth of parts
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The Army Cyber Institute’s Captain Brent Chapman built his own anti-drone rifle with about US$150 worth of parts
This prototype anti-drone hexacopter comes out of Michigan Tech
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This prototype anti-drone hexacopter comes out of Michigan Tech
This is not William H. Merideth
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This is not William H. Merideth
SkyWall100: a shoulder-mounted anti-drone cannon
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SkyWall100: a shoulder-mounted anti-drone cannon
Judging by the technology on this list, someone somewhere thinks there’s an anti-drone buck to be had
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Judging by the technology on this list, someone somewhere thinks there’s an anti-drone buck to be had

Drones! We're technological optimists here at New Atlas, and that goes for small-scale unpersoned aerial vehicles. (Military drones are a different story, clearly. This list doesn't go there.) But clearly there's something about their potential for snoopery that can disgruntle the house-proud. Judging by the technology on this list, someone somewhere thinks there's an anti-drone buck to be had. Warning: messing with other people's property may very well be illegal wherever it is you live. None of what follows comes as a recommendation.

7. With a beam gun

Battelle’s DroneDefender fires radio waves in a 30-degree cone
Battelle’s DroneDefender fires radio waves in a 30-degree cone

Looking like the offspring of a TV aerial and, I dunno, some sort of bullety gun thing, Battelle's DroneDefender fires radio waves in a 30-degree cone. These are designed to interfere with the incoming control and GPS signals the drone relies on to get where it's going. Despite weighing in under 10 lb (4.5 kg), Battelle reckons this'll knock a drone out of the sky from 400 m (1,300 ft). Except judging by the video demo you don't so much knock it out of the sky as compel it to land.

6. With a $150 "cyber rifle"

The Army Cyber Institute’s Captain Brent Chapman built his own anti-drone rifle with about US$150 worth of parts
The Army Cyber Institute’s Captain Brent Chapman built his own anti-drone rifle with about US$150 worth of parts

If you want serious drone-hunting cred, you have to get in your shed and MacGyver your own anti-drone tech. Who could be creddier, then, than the Army Cyber Institute's Captain Brent Chapman, who built his own anti-drone rifle with about US$150 worth o' parts, including a Raspberry Pi computer. An improvised cheapy this may be, but judging by this US Department of Defense video, the device is very effective at close range — enough to warrant a demo for the US Secretary of Defense.

5. With an acoustic drone shield, obviously

Though DroneShield can’t actually fell drones, as a detection aid it’s billed as a first line of drone defense
Though DroneShield can’t actually fell drones, as a detection aid it’s billed as a first line of drone defense

Though DroneShield can't actually fell drones, as a detection aid it's billed as a first line of drone defense — even against unmanned aircraft undetectable by radar. That's because drone shield listens to its environment, comparing detected sounds with a database of known drone signatures. DroneShield's makers say false-positives are kept to a minimum. That's welcome news, as, cyber rifle or no, who wants to run headlong into a swarm of bees?

4. With a shoulder-mounted net-cannon

SkyWall100: a shoulder-mounted anti-drone cannon
SkyWall100: a shoulder-mounted anti-drone cannon

As technologically-impressive radio- and sound-based anti-drone technologies are, there's something rather appealing about catching a quadcopter in a net, like some Information Age lepidopterist. Enter SkyWall100 — a shoulder-mounted cannon that fires a bullet-shaped projectile which itself releases a net when it comes close to the drone. A parachute then returns the drone safely to land for whatever nefarious revenge you deem necessary. Other payloads are available.

3. With malware

First Backdoor for Drones. Maldrone aka Malware for Drones

Alright, Jeff Goldblum! If you want to get properly War of the Worlds about it you can always infect a drone with malware to take it over later. At least, that's the idea behind "research project" Maldrone, which would let you silently take over a drone's sensors, drivers or even controls. Silently eavesdrop on the device's video feed or hijack the fecker outright — it's entirely up to you. Of course, you have to find a way to get the malware on to the thing in the first place. Which rather raises the question: what would a phishing scam designed to fool a machine even look like, anyway?

2. With a drone of your own

This prototype anti-drone hexacopter comes out of Michigan Tech
This prototype anti-drone hexacopter comes out of Michigan Tech

If the idea of a surface-to-air net is just a little mundane for your tastes, how about snaring a drone air-to-air instead? Straight outta Michigan Tech (their poetic justice department, presumably) comes a prototype hexacopter that catches smaller drones from range of up to 40 ft (12 m). I say smaller drones because the net remains attached so you can transport the prize back to base. Creator Mo Rastgaar calls the idea "robotic falconry" — and who can blame him?

1. With a shotgun

This is not William H. Merideth
This is not William H. Merideth

Of all the ideas on this list, this is surely the most-ill advised of all. Yet you can't fault it for raw, unrefined efficacy. William H. Merideth of Hillview, Louisville, Kentucky claims that he waited for the drone to be over his property before discharging his shotgun at it. Despite accusations that the drone was snooping on numerous properties, its owners were not investigated. Meanwhile, Merideth was charged with criminal mischief and wanton endangerment, both in the first degree. "Everyone I've spoke to, including police, have said they would have done the same thing," he told a local radio station.

5 comments
Wally3178
Oh great!!! More practical aids for the anti-government conspiracy theorists.
VirtualGathis
Item 2.) should have been Falcon/Eagle. They are evolved for this kind of intercept as they hunt other birds in flight. http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/drones/dutch-police-training-eagles-to-take-down-drones
Expanded Viewpoint
OK, Wally. It's only a theory until it's proven as a FACT!! Which has been done many, many times now. So go and crawl back under your rock, but before you do, make sure you take an extra long drink of that Kool-Aid so kindly provided to you by your master. If you are proud to wear your shackles as if they are gold plated ankle bracelets, then I'm perfectly fine with that, but don't you even THINK about trying to convince others that they should do the same thing, in an attempt to make yourself feel better about your having made a bad choice in the matter. Some people just can't get enough of being a slave to someone else, I guess.
pro
Keep in mind that it's a felony in the US to shoot down quadcopters. They're protected under 18 U.S.C. 32
James P Pratt
Looks like I am going to have to arm my drone with a bird crap canon. It senses someone trying to cause it harm and fires a big wad of bird crap straight into the perps face from 300 yards.
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