Dutch Police Training Eagles to Catch Drones

Trevor English

Drone technologies have been growing at a break-neck pace in recent years, leaving many cities and agencies wondering what to do about them. Near the end of 2015, the United States Federal Aviation Administration announced that drone owners would need to register their quadcopters if they were above .25 kg. With many near misses from commercial and private aircraft, the growing problem of rogue drones is one that needs to be solved fast. Dutch police are testing out a new low-tech solution to the growing high-tech problem, eagles.

drone-hunting-eagles-dutch-police[Image Source: Dutch National Police]

The company "Guard From Above" trains bald eagles to swoop down and grab the drones right out of the air. Eagle's speed and agility make them a perfect fit for the task, and their scaled talons protect them from the high rpm blades. Initially, the idea came from a viral video released last year showing a drone being attacked by a wild hawk. From this idea, the pilot project was developed, expecting to last a few months. If the eagles can prove their effectiveness, Dutch police will be looking into maintaining a fleet of drone-killing bald eagles.

SEE ALSO: Japan has New Security Drones That Can Chase Suspects

eagle-takes-down-drones [Image Source: Dutch National Police]

Administrators of the program are hopeful that this solution will continue to be effective and serve to meet long term safety goals. The main issue is this: recreational drone users are losing contact with drones and these rogue drones pose a risk to aircraft. Bird strikes are common in the aviation industry, but drone strikes offer up even more serious consequences. Often, aircraft can recover from bird strikes because the bird is simply shredded upon impact. Drones on the other hand have rigid mechanical parts that could cause catastrophic failure within an aircraft's engine.

Other ventures to solve this problem have yet to be proven, but the U.S. government is working on a software that would be able to track and remotely ground drones upon request. For now, trained eagles are the best solution to the rogue drone problem, and it sure is an impressive feat to watch. The company behind the project released the following test videos of an eagle taking down a drone inside a closed arena.

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