The fact that drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming more easily available for purchase by private individuals has started to raise issues around security. The problem with the little buggers is that they’re nimble and difficult to protect against.

Now research and development company Battelle thinks it’s cracked the problem with its aptly-named DroneDefender.

The device, which looks suspiciously like an assault rifle with radio parts strapped to it, can apparently pull off the impressive feat of stopping a drone in midair.

The DroneDefender works over GPS and ISM bands and is capalabe of locking in on a target as far away as 400m within 0.1s of starting up.

Operating over those frequencies, the “gun” blasts unwanted drones with confusing signals that stops it them in their tracks. Battelle has released a short video demonstrating it:

Due to U .S. Federal regulations, everything in that video was only a simulation, but the DroneDefender has “been successfully tested in field trials.”. With the device only weighing 4.5 kilograms and being able to operate for five continuous hours, this all seems too good to be true, and it may be.

When we reported on mobile signal jammers being used in parliament, we learned that the business of stopping drones is very complicated indeed.

While blocking certain signals is simple enough – and may be enough stop to cheap drones bought from a toy store – more advanced models are more complex. Drones are capable of employing a process called “signal hopping”, which allows them to switch their communication frequencies and  keep in contact with their operators.

If Battelle has dicovered a way to neutralise signal hopping, we could be looking at a real breakthrough. However, the official press release makes no mention of this, so the DroneDefender may just be a case of making existing (and not very effective) technologies more portable. The DroneDefender has no release date, but is being marketed to the public, so hopefully we’ll know more about it soon.

[Source – Battelle]