The Dutch National Police force has finished training its drone-hunting eagles.
In January, a private company, Guard From Above, began training bald eagles to take down drones which posed a threat to crowds or VIPs.
The programme has been so successful, the police force says its eagles are ready to deploy.
Not only that, it has bought four five-month-old American sea eagle chicks to add to the drone-hunting convocation.
A couple of days ago, the Dutch police held a demonstration of what happens when a drone takes its chances with a bald eagle:
One of the officials in charge of the program, Michel Baeten, told the AFP that the force had tried several solutions to disable hostile drones, such as laser technology and electromagnetic pulses.
But he said the eagles had turned out to be “one of the most effective countermeasures”.
They’ve been trained – with the help of bits of chicken strapped to the top of the drone – to not only take it down, but also take it somewhere where police can deal with it, away from any danger it still might pose to those below.
Here’s the view from the drone:
A lot of commentors are concerned for the birds’ welfare. Drone propellors can quite easily cause an injury, especially as models get larger and faster by the day.
Guard From Above says the eagles’ talons have scales which protect them from bites and scratches from their victims, but the DNP are still researching the potential impact from drones.
One solution has been to develop a Kevlar talon protector.
Police spokesman Dennis Janus told IEEE that during testing “none of the eagles were hurt, but as for the drones, none of them survived”.
The baby sea eagles will take about 12 months to grow large enough to be ready for deployment.
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