Police Train Eagles to Take Out Rogue Drones

drone eagle catcher uav quadcopter police
An eagle is seen gliding towards a drone in Rotterdam, Netherlands January 29. Dutch police are training the birds of prey to remove drones that pose a public safety threat. Reuters

Dutch police are training eagles to capture and take out consumer drones that might pose a risk to public safety.

A video released by the Dutch National Police Corps shows an eagle snatching a drone out of the sky and disabling it.

"There are situations in which drones are not allowed to fly," Mark Wiebe, innovation manager at the Dutch National Police Corps, said in a press release. "There was a case where an air ambulance tried to land but could not because someone out there flew a drone.

"You can also imagine that people want to create beautiful images of an event and use a drone to fly above the crowd. If the drone falls from the sky, it can be dangerous for the people."

There have been several incidents in recent years of consumer drones, or quadcopters, breaching sensitive air space. In 2015, a quadcopter crashed into the lawn of the White House, while in 2013 one flew over a campaign rally for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In response, several measures have been taken to address the security threat they may pose. Some quadcopter manufacturers have programmed no-flight-zone restrictions into their devices to prevent them from being flown in certain areas, while mechanical engineer Mo Rastgaar developed a "drone catcher" to capture other drones.

Rastgaar's device is equipped with a net and can autonomously chase a rogue drone in order to trap it.

"What makes this unique is that the net is attached to our catcher, so you can retrieve the rogue drone or drop it in a designated, secure area," Rastgaar said in a recent report by Michigan Tech News. "It's like robotic falconry."