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.

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.

Emerging Tech

Researchers create a flying wireless platform using bumblebees

Researchers at the University of Washington have come up with a novel way to create a wireless platform: using bumblebees. As mechanical drones' batteries run out too fast, the team made use of a biology-based solution using living insects.
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Computing

Nvidia’s Jetson AGX Xavier module is designed to give robots better brains

Nvidia's pricey Jetson AGX Xavier might help drive the next generation of smart robots. Nvidia hopes that developers will use its new Xavier module to power AI-driven machines like delivery drones and robots used in manufacturing.
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.
Emerging Tech

MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

Researchers have developed a 3D-printed capsule which can monitor patients' vital signs, transmit this information to a connected device, and release drugs in response to symptoms.
Emerging Tech

‘Crop duster’ robot is helping reseed the Great Barrier Reef with coral

In a world first, an undersea robot has delivered microscopic coral larvae to the Great Barrier Reef. Meet Larvalbot: the robot "crop duster" which dispenses coral babies on troubled reefs.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
Features

Cities looking to get smart take a lesson from an iconic shopping mall

From Disney World to the Mall of America, public venues are becoming microcosms for smart city projects. We dove into both, to show what government officials can learn – and what you can expect from your city.