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Anti-drone shoulder rifle lets police take control of UAVs with radio pulses

While some homeowners are turning to shotguns to deal with unwanted drones, federal agencies and law enforcement lack the necessary technology to deal with this increasing menace. However, thanks to Battelle Innovations and its new DroneDefender, law enforcement now has an anti-drone system designed to disable a drone without blasting it out the sky.

The new DroneDefender uses radio pulses to disable a hostile drone within a 400-meter radius. These pulses interrupt the communications system of the drone, making it think it is out of range. The drone’s safety protocols then kick in, forcing it to either hover, return to its point of origin, or descend slowly as it prepares to land. Because the weapon jams communication with the nearby operator, the DroneDefender also can prevent detonation and other remote functions.

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The radio jamming system is mounted to a gun chassis that makes the anti-drone weapon lightweight (10 lbs or less) and easy-to-use. It is designed to fire within 0.1 seconds of startup and can operate for five hours straight. Not only is this system efficient, this rifle-like design is also familiar to the DroneDefender’s targeted audience — government agencies and law enforcement.

Known for its ability to transform technology breakthroughs into useful hardware and services for both government and commercial customers, Battelle Innovations developed the DroneDefender using its in-house expertise, which spans both military and technology applications.

The company plans to begin selling the DroneDefender in 2016 and already has several federal agencies interested in obtaining the anti-drone weapon when it’s released next year. Though it will be available to government agencies in the US and overseas, it won’t be available for consumer use stateside, as it currently operates on non-consumer frequencies controlled by the FCC.

Related: FAA proposes $1.9-million fine against drone operator for ‘unauthorized flights’

Drones have moved from military darling to consumer item in the last few years, with applications ranging from entertainment to video capture to sheep-herding tool. But despite the popularity of GoPro-enabled models that follow you down the slopes and record your every mogul and wipeout, it’s clear the military aspects remain items to watch.