DroneCatcher does exactly what it says on the tin; on identifying an errant drone it blasts it with a net cannon, ensnaring the unit which then gently descends to earth, held aloft by a parachute.
Reminiscent of Tokyo’s net-wielding anti-drone units and MTU’s ‘Robotic Falconry’ programme, the approach disables the unit while in-flight and allows the device to be captured and analysed afterwards (unlike earlier models which featured the net but not the parachute, and hence delivered a bumpier landing). As can be seen in the FPV video above, the DroneCatcher sights its prey, lines up its sights and fires.
Created by Dutch firm Delft Dynamics, DroneCatcher is one of a number of subjects of feasibility tests being carried out by the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, in conjunction with the Dutch National Police and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee.
Despite some criticism, the Dutch authorities have also garnered media attention with their proposal to use eagles to pluck drones from the air. While critics have suggested the plans are wildly impractical and unsuitable for larger devices, tests have apparently been positive so far.
With an ongoing panic about drones being used for nefarious purposes, including drug smuggling and terrorism (as well as simply being flown ineptly or dangerously), there is a broad market for drone deterrents to be placed around airports and sensitive locations (Star Wars VIII reportedly has a fleet of drones defending its sets from intruders). What devices will ultimately win out remains to be seen – and it may very well be that a tool that interferes with radio transmissions will be more effective than physical interception.