Skip to main content

Watch Japanese cops use a net-equipped drone to catch a ‘rogue’ quadcopter

High-tech Japan has opted for a surprisingly low-tech approach for dealing with remotely controlled copters caught flying over important sites in the nation’s capital.

The solution? Drones with nets. That’s right, forget drone-destroying “death ray” machines and advanced geofencing systems designed to help the authorities keep the skies safe. Tokyo cops have instead decided it’s a better idea to use a large net-equipped drone to ensnare suspicious multi-rotor machines caught flying over the city.

The move follows a major security scare in Tokyo earlier this year when a drone carrying radioactive material landed on the roof of the prime minister’s office in an apparent political protest.

Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has been training up a special drone unit to watch over the prime minister’s office, as well as the country’s parliament building, the Imperial Palace, and other high-profile locations scattered throughout the capital.

The MPD said that using a net meant there was little chance of targeted drones dropping from the sky and possibly causing injury to innocent bystanders.

If the specially trained unit spots a rogue copter flying in a restricted zone, the operator will attempt to catch it using a three-meter-by-two-meter net attached to a six-rotor drone, believed to be DJI’s professional Spreading Wings S900 machine. On its website, DJI describes the S900 hexacopter as “highly portable, lightweight, strong, and stable.” Perfect, then, for taking down smaller drones.

In a recent demonstration of its system (shown above), we can see the net hanging down from the cops’ flying machine as it whizzes after its target. The smaller copter is swiftly taken out of action as its propellers become caught in the net’s mesh.

“Terrorist attacks using drones carrying explosives are a possibility,” a senior member of the police department’s Security Bureau told the Asahi Shimbun, adding, “We hope to defend the nation’s functions with the worst-case scenario in mind.”

The new drone unit will be deployed at one location this month before expanding to more sites in February. The department’s somewhat unique approach to drone security was announced as the country rolled out new laws governing the use of the increasingly popular unmanned aerial vehicles.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Forget police helicopters, California cops are using drones to spot suspects
chula vista police department drones img 2540drone3

Here in 2019, drones are probably most associated with cool photography, drone racing, and the glittering promise of flying Amazon deliveries. But drones could have a role to play in law enforcement, too -- and a new report suggests that these aerial robocops have a bright future ahead of them.

In a pilot study carried out by California’s Chula Vista Police Department and drone cloud platform Cape, police drones contributed to 20 arrests over a three-month period. Starting in October, drones were used as part of a program called DFR, short for Drone as a First Response. This program dispatched drones on more than 282 flights, during which the UAVs racked up some 62 hours of total flight time. The goal was to see how drones could be employed to offer real-time aerial data to police officers.

Read more
NYC police to use camera drones for security at Times Square NYE party
police taser quadcopter

The New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square is an iconic event in the New York City calendar. And this year, the party will be supervised by camera-equipped drones which will keep watch over partygoers for security.

For the first time, New York City police will use drones to keep an eye on Times Square for the NYE party, which is expected to attract as many as two million attendees. In addition to the camera drones, the police will also be deploying new "counter-drone technology" to block other drones from flying in the area and potentially interfering with the police drones. The drones will be used in addition to traditional anti-terrorism tools like police airplanes and helicopters which will be used as surveillance tools.

Read more
Meet the game-changing pitching robot that can perfectly mimic any human throw
baseball hitter swings and misses

Who’s your favorite baseball pitcher? Shane McClanahan? Sandy Alcantara? Justin Verlander? Whoever you said, two of the top sports-tech companies in the U.S. -- Rapsodo and Trajekt Sports -- have teamed up to build a robot version of them, and the results are reportedly uncannily accurate.

Okay, so we’re not talking about walking-talking-pitching standalone robots, as great a sci-fi-tinged MLB ad as that would be. However, Rapsodo and Trajekt have combined their considerable powers to throw a slew of different technologies at the problem of building a machine that's able to accurately simulate the pitching style of whichever player you want to practice batting against -- and they may just have pulled it off, too.

Read more