Could This Idea Really Work?
Here’s an interesting idea under development: The Rapere Intercept Drone.
This drone would specifically be designed to automatically target other drones via scanning cameras, hover above them, and deploy a rotor tangling string to knock them out of the sky. Potential customers would be celebrities wishing to thwart paparazzi, business owners requiring tighter security, or anyone seeking privacy.
The design group claims to be commercial drone developers with many years of UAV experience, and are designing the drone to be faster and more agile than many of the “voyeur-type” drones on the market. (no way it would catch one of these racers, or a Charpu QAV250)
Other counter UAV (C-UAV) technologies under development are Boeing’s Laser cannon, and Silex-ES (a UK defense company).
Read the FAQ below from the developer’s website
Having worked in the UAS industry for years, we’ve collectively never come across any bogus use of drones. However it’s inevitable that will happen, and for people such as celebrities, where there is profit to be made in illegally invading their privacy, there should be an option to thwart it.
How is it used?
It sits permanently on it’s charging base, indoors, until ready to deploy. Simply take it outside, put it on the ground, and press the GO button. The Rapere will take off, while at the same time scanning the sky for drones. It can tell the difference between a bird and a drone, and will fly over top of any drone within range, then disable it.
After the target drone is disabled, it will return to base and land, where you can add a new tangle-line for a second flight.
How does it work?
Lots of (12) high framerate (90 fps) moderately low res cameras (VGA) pointing in every direction, with structure from motion being used to guide the drone to it’s target – hovering above the free floating target drone. Fortunately for us detecting a free floating object which is well illuminated and far from any other visible object is easy. We can burn lots of watts on the onboard computer, because of the short flight time. This is difficult on normal UAS.
When will it be available?
Not sure. We are in talks about mass production, while continuing to develop the product. This also depends on the volume of interest, so please sign up to our mailing list and boost the numbers!
How much will it cost?
It won’t be cheap like a DJI type drone. It will be priced as a professional tool – we don’t want this to become a toy people can use to disrupt legitimate drone use.
What type of drones can it intercept?
Any ‘rotary wing’ like a quadcopter. It isn’t fast enough to catch circling fixed wing drones, yet. We designed it primarily to intercept the type of drones used by paparazzi or voyeurs flying over private residence.
Can the target drone evade interception?
We’ve been having great fun trying, but the answer is ‘not really’. Because of the intentionally designed short flight time (2 mins, vs a normal drone 15 minutes) we can drain the batteries much faster, and have a much higher power to weight ratio. With a flight time of 2 minutes, this is the best performing drone we can imagine from a flight performance point of view. It’s even hard to see it once it’s a few hundred feet up because it’s so fast.
Who are the people behind this?
We are commercial drone developers who teamed up with some computer vision experts to enable the device to ‘see’ and fly itself. Right now we are flying under the radar for commercial reasons, but all will be revealed in time.
To read more, check out the rapere website