It should never have come to this. Just months into a new year which promised so much for recreational drones, we've only gone and turned them against each other. In a way it makes sense. Instead of simply shooting down your neighbour's drone when it comes a little too close to your property, it makes a whole lot more sense to send up your own to knock it out of the sky...
Over at the Michigan Technological University they've developed a drone which does exactly that. MTU's drone-capture system does more than just shoot down its fellow drones. As the name suggests, it actually captures them, firing out a net and flying away with its prize.
But this isn't simply a bit of fun for a bunch of very clever people. Developed by Mo Rastgaar, associate professor of mechanical engineering, the system is designed to capture rogue drones and dispose of them safely. The idea is that there will come a point where people with unlawful intentions will start to use drones to do their dirty work. If a dangerous drone happened to be carrying something explosive, MTU's octacopter is capable of not only capturing it, but carrying it away from its target without letting it touch the ground.
Clearly though, that's a worst-case scenario, and in reality this kind of technology will be used more for ensuring perfectly innocent drones don't wander where they shouldn't.
Michigan Technological University’s latest drone-catcher system deploys an octacopter armed with a gun that fires out a net to entrap and carry off rogue unmanned aerial vehicles flying where they shouldn't be.
This is by no means the first time that someone has developed a way to stop rogue drones, but it's certainly the safest to date, avoiding any kind of crash landing or damage to the drone in question.
Last month champion skier Marcel Hirscher was almost hit during a run, when a rogue drone crashed within inches of him. It may be that we see drones patrolling our skies (for other drones) sooner that we think...