Police in the Netherlands, concerned about the security threat posed by unmanned aerial drones, have turned to a rather unusual ally for help.
The results, as shown in the video above, are specially-trained anti-drone attack eagles. The birds are trained to seek out and attack drones in mid-air at the behest of their police handlers.
The Dutch National Police Force announced over the weekend that they’ve partnered with Danish company Guard from Above to train the birds, which they hope will be an effective, low-cost solution to ridding the skies of unwanted or potentially criminal drone activity.
“There are situations in which drones are not allowed to fly. This has almost always to do with security,” Mark Wiebe, innovation manager of the National Police, said in a press release.
Wiebe said the security threats posed by drones and drone traffic go beyond what most people would consider to be normal criminal or mischievous behavior.
The National Police held a demonstration last Friday, during which one of their birds successfully tracked and brought down a standard commercial drone within moments of it’s taking off.
The program is part of a National Police program on how best to address the issue of drones. Another idea currently being discussed is that of using counter-drones equipped with nets to bring down the offending drone.
However, such a countermeasure runs the risk of one or both drones losing control and falling from the skies, potentially on to people or property below.
Such a risk is mitigated by the use of eagles, natural hunters trained to strike struggling prey in mid-air.
“The bird sees the drone as prey and takes it to a safe area, a place where he does not suffer from other birds or humans,” Wiebe said. “We use in this project.”
Tests will continue with the anti-drone attack eagles before they are introduced into official police use in the Netherlands.