While drone detection systems have gotten more and more sophisticated over the last few years, the problem of how to actually mitigate a rogue drone remains – and it’s a thornier problem than you might think. “Shoot ’em down” seems like an obvious answer – but aside from the fact that shooting down aircraft is illegal, it is also extremely difficult (a drone moving at 400 feet overhead is no easy target) and extremely dangerous.
Solutions have ranged from trained eagles to shoulder mounted “ray guns” – but the latest is getting a lot of attention from the law enforcement community. The SkyWall Auto Response net capture system will be displayed at the Security and Policing 2020 government event.
Developed by OpenWorks Engineering, the SkyWall Auto Response is the mitigation piece of the company’s SkyWall Patrol system. The company says in a press release that the system is already deployed “at critical national infrastructure around the world.”
The SkyWall Auto Response is mounted on a vehicle, allowing it to follow a drone – and then it shoots a net to capture the rogue drone. This has significant advantages over destroying the drone. Destroying a drone is illegal except in very specific circumstances by government agencies – and capturing a drone allows for the greater possibility of enforcement actions after an incident. In addition, the SkyWall Auto Response unit is meant to be discreet.
“SkyWall Auto Response looks like any typical commercial vehicle at first sight as the drone capture system is hidden under rapidly deployable covers, ensuring the system remains discreet when not in use. When a drone threat has been detected, the vehicle can be manoeuvred quickly and the SkyWall net capture system is automatically deployed from under the cover,” says the press release.
“SkyWall Auto Response is the first mounted deployment of the autonomous drone capture solution that was originally developed by OpenWorks and their technology partners Antmicro. The developmental system has previously been tested and proven in static installations at high- profile military evaluations and can capture fast moving multi-rotor (quad) or fixed-wing drones.”