A Dutch company debuted a drone-snagging drone at one of Europe’s top defense industry expos this week.
Delft Dynamics unveiled the DroneCatcher project, a program backed by the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Military Police), the Dutch National Police and the Dutch Ministry of Safety and Justice, during Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) in London.
The project deploys a quadcopter equipped with a mechanically triggered net system that can target and bring down rogue drones. The company brought a demonstration prototype online in April and is now ready to market to the defense and security sectors.
Working via a ground station, DroneCatcher can identify a potentially errant drone via radar, visual or acoustic system. Using a multiple array of onboard sensors, the hunter drone can lock on to an unauthorized UAV and “shoot” it with the net gun, carrying the baddie away to a safer place on the ground. If the quarry is too heavy to be towed, a parachute deploys and drops it harmlessly to the earth.
The quadcopter weighs in around 13 pounds and can fly up to 30 minutes per charge. The netgun sports a range of up to 65 feet.
Appropriate to its web-slinging mission, the DroneCatcher is built on Delft’s RH4 Spyder quadcopter system. The setup includes a portable ground station with live camera and map display, flight logging, waypoint/velocity/altitude control and optional extra-large video storage.
A netgun system is one of many anti-drone solutions being touted within the defense and security market. In March, British startup OpenWorks Engineering demonstrated SkyWall at a UK Home Office security conference. The device resembles a grenade launcher and, like DroneCatcher, physically captures a drone in a net and brings it to the ground safely under a parachute.
In 2015, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) created a “drone squad” to capture unauthorized drones using a large drone carrying a long rectangular net hanging to cover the propellers of the rogue drone and capture it without causing the drone to crash
A recent study predicts the drone mitigation (or anti-drone) market will to grow to a billion-dollar industry within six years with predicted compound annual growth rate of 23.89 percent across 2017-22.