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Dutch Police to Counter Drones With … Eagles

Feb. 3, 2016
The police force calls the use of the birds “a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem.” Now, how will the winged predators react to the tech, and to crowds?

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands — Dutch police are turning to a phalanx of winged predators to solve the problem of unauthorized drone flights in restricted areas like airports and crowds: eagles.

Police officers, who are looking for the best way to intercept unauthorized drones, are conducting tests with the birds of prey together with a specialized Dutch company called Guard from Above, a police spokesman said on Wednesday.

“It’s a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem,” Dennis Janus said. “We use the birds’ age-old hunting instinct to intercept and neutralize drones.”

Police released video footage of the tests, which shows an eagle in flight firmly grasping the drone with its talons before landing a few yards away.

The eagles are trained by Guard from Above, which describes itself as the “first company in the world that uses birds of prey to intercept drones.”

Like elsewhere around the globe, the use of drones in The Netherlands is booming.

“For obvious security reasons, you can’t fly a drone just anywhere,” Janus said, adding that it is forbidden to fly drones in airports or over large crowds. “If a drone falls on somebody it could kill.”

Police are also testing a method to “hack” a drone’s controls or to catch it in a net carried by another drone. The test using birds of prey is expected to be finalized by the end of the year, and will examine the birds’ reaction to crowds.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016

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