Eagles Vs. Drones

Eagles are undergoing training to take down drones; the program was put in place by Dutch police. Meanwhile in Japan, Tokyo police are using drones to catch drones.


(Dutch-trained eagles versus drones)

The Dutch police have partnered with Guard From Above, a raptor training company based in The Hague, to determine whether eagles could be used as intelligent, adaptive anti-drone weapon systems. The eagles are specially trained to identify and capture drones, although from the way most birds of prey react to drones, my guess is that not a lot of training was necessary. After snatching the drone out of the sky, the eagles instinctively find a safe area away from people to land and try take a couple confused bites out of their mechanical prey before their handlers can reward them with something a little less plastic-y. The advantage here is that with the eagles, you donít have to worry about the drone taking off out of control or falling on people, since the birds are very good at mid-air intercepts as well as bringing the drone to the ground without endangering anyone.

I don't count this as a "prediction" but as sometimes happens, I really think that I've read about this idea of using flying animals to take out mechanical drones. This excerpt is from the wonderful novel Changeling by the Hugo Award-winning author Roger Zelazny. In the novel, the wizard Pol Detson uses his flying dragon to take out mechanical surveillance drones like the tracer bird:

Now. Up high. Look! The massive head turned. Pol followed the direction of its gaze. He saw the small, blue-bellied, gray-backed thing upon the sill overhead. It was turned as if watching them. A portion of its front end caught the sunlight and cast it down toward them.

[Pol] What is it?

[Moonbird] Something I do not know. See how it watches?

[Pol] It must be something of his. I wonder how much of my plans it has learned?

[Moonbird] Shall I upchuck firestuff upon it?

[Pol] No. Pretend that it is not there. Do not look at it.

Moonbird's view of the west was partly blocked by the pyramid, so that he did not see the bird-things dark against the brilliant sky until their van was near. Several began to dive as he raised his head, but they pulled up sharply and continued on. Then he saw the falling object, and superimposed upon it came the image out of his dream. He spread his wings immediately to take to the air.

By the time the bombs struck, he was fifteen meters above them and climbing. He felt the heat building within his stomachs. Above him, he counted eight of the fliers. Good, he acknowledged. He had been waiting for an opportunity to meet them when he was unencumbered with passengers...

Pol turned his attention to the final flier, which suddenly seemed bent upon a suicide attack on the lazily turning skybeast. He knew that no time remained for the slow knottings of another spell, and he doubted that from this distance he could release an effective blast such as that which had felled the guardian in the pyramid. And even as he raised the rod for the attempt, he saw the small white puff and moments later heard the report.

Moonbird showed no sign of having been hit, however, and as the bird-thing plunged toward him, he moved to meet it, twisting in a serpentine fashion, acquiring more speed than the moment seemed to offer. As they met, he clasped the flier to him and began his descent.

Nora and Pol watched him spiral downward in a leisurely fashion, coming to rest near the rim of a nearby crater, turning so as to land directly atop the captive flier with a series of crunching noises which ceased only when he moved away from the broken device, which a final nudge sent toppling and sliding into the hole.

Via IEEE Spectrum.

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