Recently, the Department of Defense and the Homeland Security Department have entered into an agreement to purchase 100 DroneDefender systems, which are developed by technology company Battelle, as their solution to the threat posed by unmanned aerial vehicle such as GPS-enabled drone for spying and bomb/weapon/drugs delivery.
The DroneDefender is a gun-shaped device. It’s not for shooting people (of course), rather it is used for shooting drones as far as 400 meters away. Once hit with the radio beam, the 3G drone quadcopter may lose control of its system or interrupt GPS data transmission.
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Taking Control: Not an Easy Task
A Battelle representative said that when the drone’s system is interrupted, it respond by landing; however, this is not always the case. Other GPS-guided drones when stripped of its ability to control the aircraft will still float in the air aimlessly until its batteries run out.
In the video presented by Battelle, they demonstrate how the DroneDefender takes down a drone’s command system. The device effectively disables the drone’s program and steers it to the ground.
Though their promotional video says DroneDefender has been “successfully tested,” the company did not make any claims that it can take control actively of a drone. That would be a huge statement considering the wide range of drone control design available. Furthermore, even advanced quadcopters have weak control encryption; however, the arrival of devices such as DroneDefender will surely prompt drone makers to develop UAVs with higher standards.
As drone technology flourishes, the emergence of this kind of tools is unavoidable. A federal government client has in their position a similar device called Dronebuster. Flex Force, the creator of Dronebuster, says they’re in the process of creating another version of the device that can actually give command to a suspicious aircraft.
Regardless of its contribution to the solution and security, the appearance of this kind of devices may be the beginning of a continuous game of cat and mouse involving the drone manufacturers and users and those who want to take them down.