A handheld launcher that fires a net into the skies to immobilise and capture drones posing a threat to public safety is set to be shown to UK police and security firms.
SkyWall100, which is designed for use by authorities such as police, first uses a laser rangefinder and on-board computer to calculate the speed and position of a drone.
A gas-powered projectile armed with a net then intercepts the drone, before using a parachute to bring the offending device safely back to earth.
The SkyWall100 is the first of a series of anti-drone devices aimed at tackling the ‘civil drone threat’.
Designed to counter public nuisance, invasion of privacy, security concerns and terrorist threats, the ‘man-portable’ SkyWall100 was developed by Northumberland-based firm OpenWorks Engineering.
SkyWall100 will first be demonstrated to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said engineering director Neil Armstrong.
It will also be showcased at the Home Office Security & Policing event in Farnborough, Hampshire, from 8-10 March.
Speaking to Amateur Photographer, Armstrong said the firm is also expecting an uptake from private security firms – for VIP protection, for example – and infrastructure such as power stations.
The company says its SkyWall system can be rapidly reloaded to deal with ‘multiple drone threats’.
‘Drones have already been used to carry out crimes against individuals and organsations,’ states the SkyWall brochure.
‘As the technology becomes cheaper and more widely adopted the number of incidents will inevitably increase…
‘[Drones] have infiltrated the security of heads of state, delivered contraband into prisons and photographed private film sets and celebrity’s property.’
In recent months there have been a growing number of reports of near-misses involving drones and commercial aircraft.
And last year a drone enthusiast who flew his device over Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and football stadiums, was banned in the first prosecution of its kind in the UK.
Earlier this week, drone maker DJI unveiled the Phantom 4, which features two on-board sensors designed to allow the drone to avoid obstacles.
DJI CEO Frank Wang claimed: ’With the Phantom 4, we are entering an era where even beginners can fly with confidence.’
Technical details, as supplied by OpenWorks Engineering
o Range: 100m
o Weight: 10kg (man portable SkyWall100)
o Propellant: HPA (High Pressure Air) COTS rechargeable tank
o Power: Rechargeable LiPo battery
o Reload time: 8s
o Holographic reticule with HUD distance readout
o Computerised targeting – motorised pan/tilt mount compensates for gravity drop and the lead required for a moving target
o Cost effective
o Man portable
o Physically captures drone, allows forensic investigation
o Minimal training required
o Rapid response
o Minimises collateral damage
o Near silent operation
o Does not affect RF/GPS communications