AI News, Dutch Police Buy Four Eagle Chicks for Anti-Drone Flying Squad
- On Monday, February 19, 2018
- By Read More
Dutch Police Buy Four Eagle Chicks for Anti-Drone Flying Squad
For the past year,the Dutch National Policeand raptor training company Guard From Above have been investigating whether eagles could be an effective way of dealing with potentially dangerous drones.
You may also have noticed that it looks like she’s eating the drone, but that’s just part of the training process:pieces of chicken or turkey are taped to the tops of the drones used for training to provide the birds with positive reinforcement when they successfully make a catch.
All of the eagles currently in the programhave been trained by Guard From Above, but the Dutch police have purchased four five-month old bald eagle chicks,and begun training 100 humans,to form their own raptor flying squad.
The chicks will spend the next year getting bigger (and learning that drones are prey) before being deployed to several police units across the Netherlands next summer, and police forces in other countries have expressed interest in raptor flying squads of their own.
Dutch Police Training Eagles to Take Down Drones
The video, as you probably noticed, is in Dutch, but here’s what I’ve been able to piece together: the Dutch police (like police everywhere)know that drones are going to become even more of a problem than they already are, so they’ve been testing ways of dealing with a drone in an emergency, like if a drone is preventing an air ambulance from landing.
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.
While the eagles are (unsurprisingly) very competent at taking out something the size of a DJI Phantom, for larger dronesthe safety of the bird seems like it should be a concern: my guess is that large carbon fiber props could do damage to a bird’s legs or toes, and at least here in the United States, that would be a big problem, becauseeagles and many other kinds of birdare protected species.
Even so, Idoubt that using attack eagles as drone interceptors will ever turn out to be a practical solution in most places, but since I got to write an article about using attack eagles as drone interceptors (!), as far as I’m concerned, it’s been totally worth it.
Eagle-eyed: Dutch police to train birds to take down unauthorised drones
As the use of drones increasingly worries everyone from firefighters and air traffic control to law enforcement, Netherlands’ national police have aligned themselves with a group that hates flying robots on principle: the bald eagle.
He and the company’s chief operating officer, Ben de Keijzer, train birds of prey to catch unauthorised unmanned vehicles – Hoogendoorn’s background is in private security, de Keijzer’s is in bird-handling and training.
“The drones are pretty much the size of a bird of prey, so smaller birds on the ground aren’t likely to mob a bird of prey when it’s flying – but larger birds are, especially when it’s around their nests,” said LeBaron, who’d seen the behavior in barnacle geese as well as raptors like ospreys.
with the drones they perceive the rotors on the side and so they just go for the rear.” The birds Guard From Above is using – in the video above, a pair of bald eagles, one immature and one adult – appear trained not merely to disable the drone, but to retrieve it, an even trickier feat.
Dutch Police Are Training Eagles to Capture Drones
Nope, it’s a trained eagle hunting down an unmanned aerial vehicle like it’s a slow and useless animal that it wants to eat for dinner.
The police force is said to be testing other electronic and physical solutions, but right now it’s in the middle of trial period where eagles are coached to identify and capture drones.
Though one does wonder what might happen if the eagle attempted to bring down a large drone, with feathers meeting big rotors a rather unpleasant thought.
Watch out, drones: This bald eagle can take you down
Hunter the bald eagle, shown in action in the video above, is the world's first bird trained to take down drones that cause trouble in the sky.
The new recruits have another month of test flights before they'll be ready to take off on real-life missions to take down drones.
Meanwhile, Dutch researchers are looking into the impact that drone propellers may have on the eagle's claws, to make sure the unconventional mission doesn't put the bird in harm's way.
- On Monday, February 17, 2020
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