The newest manifestation of the anti-missile defense system? A drone death ray device. Sure, it sounds like a figment of a sci-fi director’s imagination, but believe it or not, a few highly skilled technicians in the U.K. have managed to build a so-called “death ray” capable of knocking unmanned aerial vehicles clear out of the sky. “If I can see it, I can kill it,” Rick Sondag, executive vice-president of distributor Liteye Systems told The Guardian. And with confidence like that, what more do you need?
Known as the Anti-UAV Defense System, or Auds, the device looks pretty intimidating, though looks probably do little to strike fear into the hearts of inanimate drones. A number of lightly colored boxes sit on top of two square posts, and The Guardian describes the overall effect as “a particularly menacing pair of weathervanes.” And while Auds may look like the a portion of a tank, Liteye promises that the rifle barrel-like cylinders that are actually responsible for bringing down the drones are nothing to fear. Rather, they’re simply directional radio antennas that produce a focused broadcast capable of knocking out a drone, but won’t have any effects on things like cellphone reception or even untargeted UAVs.
So what’s the interest in shooting down drones? While these unmanned flying devices have grown quite popular over the last few years, even finding their way into commercial applications like delivering products for Amazon, they’ve certainly been used for more insidious purposes. Drones have been cited as culprits in a number of drug-related prison incidents, they’ve caused quite a stir amongst wildlife, and they’ve even hindered firefighting attempts during major natural disasters. And then, of course, there’s just the everyday annoyance of having to deal with a drone as you’re trying to take a nap.
As a result, Liteye projects that its market will be quite large and quite varied, with interest from both airports and homeland security at home and abroad. So if you see a drone tumbling out of the sky anytime soon, you may want to take a closer look around you. You may just catch sight of the Auds.