Drone-catching drones to bolster security at this week’s Winter Olympics

drone catching drones winter olympics full
Drone ownership has caught on in South Korea as it has pretty much everywhere else, a fact that hasn’t escaped organizers of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which officially gets underway on Friday, February 9.

Officials are concerned about rogue flying machines disrupting events during the two-week sporting extravaganza, and have put in measures to deal with any such incidents.

Worst-case scenarios include a drone carrying a bomb toward a bus full of athletes, a scenario recently tackled by a SWAT team as part of a pre-Games drill. The team shot down the drone before it had a chance to reach the vehicle.

The sporting event isn’t known to be facing any specific threat from terror groups, and North Korea’s decision to participate in the Games has reduced fears that South Korea’s unpredictable neighbor might interfere in some way. But as you’d expect, trained personnel — reportedly as many as 60,000 — will be doing their utmost to ensure the safety of the athletes as well as spectators attending the Games.

No-fly zone

The airspace over and around the Games has been declared a no-fly zone for unauthorized aircraft, and special drone-detection radar developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology will be in place to keep the skies safe for the duration of the event.

Local news outlets are also reporting the use of signal-jamming guns like this one that can intercept communications between a pilot and their drone, and bring it safely back to the ground. In extreme cases, a helicopter could be deployed, with a special forces agent going in close to shoot and destroy the drone in midair.

So-called “drone-catching drones” may also be deployed during the Winter Games. These multi-rotor machines — more powerful than your regular consumer drone — carry nets that can be used to smother and disable a rogue drone. It’s not clear how effective this measure is, as it involves a highly skilled drone pilot going after the rogue drone in what could turn out to be a lengthy game of aerial cat and mouse.

We first saw net-carrying drones in Japan in 2015. A demonstration by Tokyo police showed a drone carrying a net that opened out beneath it. When it closed in on its target, the rogue drone’s propellers became entangled in the net like a fly in a spider’s web, enabling the police’s drone to bring the caught copter back to the ground in a controlled manner.

Other equipment for protecting athletes and spectators at the sports venues in the coming weeks includes low-flying aircraft with facial recognition technology on board. It’s claimed that these powerful cameras can monitor activities on the ground in great detail, with agents at the venues able to be rapidly deployed should the cameras detect any suspicious activities.

Emerging Tech

It sounds like utter madness, but you can now buy a flamethrower drone

The TF-19 WASP Flamethrower Drone is a quadcopter attachment for drones which, according to its creators, 'allows users to ignite aerial and ground targets from miles away.' What could go wrong?
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Emoji Day, Apollo 11 broadcast, drone flamethrowers

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the top stories in tech, including Emoji Day festivities, the extended battery life of the new Nintendo Switch, an Apollo 11 real-time broadcast, and a functional flamethrower attachment for drones.
Emerging Tech

This compact drone gun can down a rogue quadcopter at 500 meters

The latest drone gun from DroneShield is its most compact yet and can be easily operated with one hand. The DroneGun MkIII can tackle rogue drones up to 500 meters away, using jamming technology to take control of the machine.
Cars

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Drone lens, laser synth, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Genetically modified plants could help get to the root of climate change

Researchers have been investigating ways to engineer plants so that they grow with more robust and deeper roots, capable of storing increasing amounts of carbon underground for longer.
Photography

With object tracking, the lightweight DJI Ronin-SC is still heavy on features

Designed for mirrorless cameras, the DJI Ronin-SC packs several features from the Ronin-S -- and then some -- into a lighter, one-handed gimbal. Despite the smaller size, the DJI Ronin-S adds new object tracking and expanded remote control.
Emerging Tech

IBM’s Wimbledon-watching A.I. is poised to revolutionize sports broadcasts

IBM has developed a smart A.I. with an appreciation for what makes a great tennis match like the recent epic at Wimbledon. Here's how IBM developed it -- and why tools like it are the future of sport broadcasting.
News

SpaceX’s Starhopper rocket bursts into flames during tests

SpaceX ran into trouble Tuesday evening when a small fire erupted from the engine of a prototype rocket it was testing at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. It's not clear if the fire caused any damage to the rocket itself
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here's all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Emerging Tech

6 questions we have about Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain interface technology

Elon Musk's Neuralink sounds like an exciting leap forward for human-computer relations, but brain implants raise the specter of Black Mirror-esque privacy invasions. We have a few questions about how this would work.
News

Canadian medical project demonstrates the health care potential of smart homes

A medical project involving smart homes demonstrates the technology's potential in treating mental illness and providing patients with a level of independence previously thought impossible.
Emerging Tech

Implant restores sight in blind patients by beaming images directly to the brain

Engineers have developed a neural implant which could help restore vision for completely blind people by bypassing non-functioning optical nerves and inputting images directly into their brains.
Deals

Ride in style with the Xiaomi Mi electric scooter for $97 less post-Prime Day

Scooters started out as a plaything for kids. But now they are larger and have become a common and efficient means to commute, like the Xiaomi Mi electric scooter. It's available on Amazon as a post-Prime Day deal for $97 less.
Emerging Tech

Trippy VR demo reads your brain waves to create sleep-inducing visuals

Struggle to get to sleep? Researchers in Australia have been experimenting with ways to combine a person’s brain activity with virtual reality to create a kind of VR lullaby machine.