While we all look forward to the prospect of pizza being delivered by drones, not everyone is loving the flying gadgets. Birds of prey don't particularly like them. In short, they're destroying them, and it's forcing Steven to get inventive. The UAVs have assisted Steven in creating 3D models of mined areas, as well as helping workers avoid extreme weather conditions on surveys. But the pesky eagles have been taking down their drone-y mortal enemies, because they're seen as a threat.
EagleEye says its tech gives drones military-grade security and the possibility of flying autonomous missions. In 2014, three software engineers decided to create a drone company in Wavre, Belgium, just outside Brussels. All were licensed pilots and trained in NATO security techniques. But rather than build drones themselves, they decided they would upgrade existing radio-controlled civilian drones with an ultra-secure software layer to allow the devices to fly autonomously. Their company, EagleEye Systems, would manufacture the onboard computer and design the software, while existing manufacturers would provide the drone body and sensors.
For the past year, the Dutch National Police and raptor training company Guard From Above have been investigating whether eagles could be an effective way of dealing with potentially dangerous drones. The trials have been a resounding success, and the Dutch police today announced that they're ready to operationally deploy an anti-drone team of specially trained bald eagles and their human partners. This video shows a demo that the Dutch police put on yesterday of a drone threatening a mock state visit. The eagle vs drone action starts at about 1:50. We use all kinds of technological solutions, like electromagnetic pulses, or even laser technology, and one of the projects is the use of birds of prey.
The French military is literally going where eagles dare in an effort to combat the increasing use of drones by criminals and terrorists. Following incidents of drones flying over the presidential palace and restricted military sites – along with the deadly 2015 Paris terror attacks – the French air force has trained four golden eagles to intercept and destroy the rogue aircraft. Aptly named d'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis – an homage to Alexandre Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" – the four birds of prey have been honing their attack skills at the Mont-de-Marsan in southwestern France since mid-2016. A French army falconer works with a golden eagle as part of a military training for combat against drones in Mont-de-Marsan French Air Force base, Southwestern France, February 10, 2017. It takes about eight months to fully train the birds, but the eagles are surrounded by drones from before they hatch to make the unmanned flying devices part of their natural environment and to teach the birds to associate drones with being fed.
Remember back when you could fly drones without having to pay the government money first, and when the only thing you had to worry about was a midair takedown by an anti-drone hit squad made up of highly-trained Dutch eagles? We're sad to have to report that we probably won't be seeing compelling videos of eagles handling rogue drones anymore, and also that the United States government has flexed its muscles and mandatory drone registration is now back on. You probably remember how the FAA finalized its mandatory drone registration rules just in time for the holiday season in 2015. Any drone that weighed more than 0.55 pounds was required to be registered before being flown outdoors, a process that involved providing your complete name, physical address, mailing address, email address, and a credit card that was charged a one-time fee of US $5. In exchange, you got a unique registration number that had to be visible on all of your drones.