Dutch police have purchased four bald eagle chicks that will be trained to find, attack, and take down small drones without endangering innocent bystanders.
The eagle chicks will be trained to view drones as prey, and the hope is that they will follow instructions about where to take down the drone once it’s caught in their claws. This would allow police to control the skies without dropping drones on people’s heads — assuming the eagles listen to their instructors — or buying fancy equipment. Here’s a video showing a September 9 demo of the program:
This program has, at times, been called “low-tech,” but that’s a bit of a misnomer. People have used eagles to hunt for thousands of years, and if drone-hunting eagles are “low-tech” then surely canine units would be, too.
Dutch police are planning to create tools that will help these eagles, however. According to a Google translation of the department’s press release, the police are hoping to develop “claw protectors” that will protect the eagles if they target large drones. (Their previous research is said to have found that the eagles’ claws and jaws were not harmed while they took down small drones).
As these police train eagles to attack drones, researchers are also creating drones that will hunt for animals like the invasive lionfish. Drones might not qualify as members of the food chain — these eagles aren’t going to chow down on their robotic prey — but they are certainly at war with the animal kingdom.