And you thought drone photo- and videography is the next best thing, giving you views, perspective and angles nothing else gives. True that, yet there is growing controversy about the dangers of drones. They might just crash into people should battery fail, or to some it is only a matter of time that a big passenger plane will collide with a drone trying to capture spectacular airplane footage. And then there was that drone hovering over the White House… Well here is the SkyWall 100, a new shoulder-mounted compressed-air launcher that fires shells containing a net and parachute to capture and bring a drone back to the ground without damaging it.
Designed by the British startup OpenWorks Engineering, the SkyWall bazooka “captures drones, protects assets,” the company says, believing that physically capturing a drone can be extremely useful for law enforcement. “Once captured it can be impounded, forensically investigated or simply handed back with some words of education where appropriate,” the company explains, adding that the risk of damaging the drone is also reduced.
As drone technology advances, anti-drone technology has followed suited. Drones, thanks to their small size and ability to hover low over the ground, can pose a huge security headache, as evidenced last year when a quadcopter drone crashed onto the White House grounds. In 2014 an international soccer game between Serbia and Albania was abandoned after a drone carrying a political banner caused a brawl between players from the two teams.
SkyWall’s solution combines brute force with a bleeding edge tracking system. Other devices use radio waves to disrupt the targeted drone’s communications while other systems still use larger drones to capture smaller drones. The SkyWall 100 launcher weighs 10 kilograms, uses compressed air, locks the target and can fire almost silently at drones up to 100 meters away, reloading in eight seconds.
There’s a new sport up coming — drone capturing. Boom.