OPINION: Tokyo's anti-drone squad isn't up to the challenge

12/13/2015 - 23:54

Scott Ryan

Let's face it, flying drones well is tough. Anyone can fly a drone quite easily, but actually moving the device seamlessly through the air following your every command is a lot tougher than it looks.

Nonetheless, most avid enthusiasts are quite good with their various rigs. The concept presented by the Japanese Police in Tokyo of running a net into infringing drones in mid-air seems futile. They do not specify what type of drone they plan to use, but mention it to be somewhere between 2-3 meters (6-10 feet) in length. Engadget believes it to be the DJI Spreading Wings S900 which has a flight time of ~18 minutes and can carry a payload of 8.2kg (18 lbs).


Given most aerial hobbyists have much smaller and agile drones, it'd be rather easy for an experienced flyer to avoid such a net. Veteran flyers would likely not traverse into these no-fly zones, but who doesn't break some rules from time to time?

Needless to say, it is a unique idea of capturing someone's high tech flying machine without completely destroying it, but better solutions already exist.

This video below shows the effectiveness of using a drone net cannon dubbed 'DroneCatcher'. However, this seems like quite the liability having rogue drones falling from the sky...

Even with all this chatter about nets, there is the definite winner of how law enforcement will most likely take down illegally roaming drones in the future. Drone Defender takes more of a shotgun blast approach that even master flyers wouldn't be able to avoid. As Digital Trends mentioned:

"DroneDefender uses radio pulses to disable a hostile drone within a 400-meter radius"

Video may have have issues playing on Chrome

It is unfortunate that the ignorant and irresponsible actions of the few can negatively affect the law abiding majority. Certainly reasonable regulation of UAV’s must remain a priority. However, in the arena of unmanned flying vehicles, fighting fire with fire is most certainly a terrible and misguided idea.

At the end of the day, there is a simple solution. Do not be an idiot and do not fly in restricted areas, especially near airports.

Let's end this on a nice note with some epic drone dolphin and whale footage. So long and thanks for all the fish!