Tech Company in talks with US Government over Drone Defense System

Now that there are more UAVs registered with the FAA than airplanes, it's probably safe to say that drones have gone mainstream. But apart from this meaning a huge rise in budding aerial photographers, security officials have raised safety concerns after several high profile incidents involving drones have made the headlines...

Remember the drone that crash landed onto the lawn of the White House, or the one that got stuck in the Empire State Building earlier this month? Both were of course perfectly innocent accidents, but bring to public attention wider questions about how to police drones in busy areas. Sadly the ease of use and increasing ubiquity of drones means that it seems only a matter of time before one is used for something a whole lot more sinister than peeking through the White House windows. Over the past few months the British media has been full of stories involving drones, prisons and the smuggling of contraband. We'll let you join up the dots on that one...

So how can we police our skies from the minority of people who will seek to use the power of drones to break the law? We brought you the story not too long ago of a Dutch company training eagles to take down troublesome UAVs. While this is a pretty interesting solution, it's unlikely to be an idea that solves the problem in the long term. Simply shooting them out of the sky seems a pretty drastic step, too. Step in Finmeccanica, the Italian technology company with a smarter way to bring wayward drones under control...

Finmeccanica is currently in discussion with various customers within the Department of Defense about its new UAV security system, Falcon Shield.  The system, as shown in the video above, can detect, track and take control of drones flying in areas where they shouldn't. 

The Falcon Shield system combines radar, infra-red search and track, a high-performance electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) camera and acoustic sensors. The electronic attack capability, similar to one developed by UK engineers last year, allows the Falcon Shield team to wrestle control of the target drone and either destroy it, by simply letting in plummet to the ground, or capture it safely. This electronic attack capability doesn't interfere with surrounding, friendly systems like people on their cell phones or police radios. 

It may seem like a pretty complicated system, but Falcon Shield is designed to be operated by a small team of one or two individuals, and can cover small localized areas such as sporting events or airports.