A gun that tracks drones and fires a net to knock them out of the sky has been developed by British engineers.
With drone use increasing, concerns are growing over the implications they could have for security and privacy.
Last year, an inebriated intelligence service agent flew a drone into the grounds of the White House, highlighting that even supposedly secure locations are vulnerable to these readily available, low-cost devices.
The SkyWall gun concept, developed by a firm of British engineers called Openworks, can lock onto a drone and automatically anticipate its flight path before firing a net into the air to bring it to the ground safely with a parachute.
The developers said that physically capturing a drone allows security services to conduct a forensic investigation or track it back to its owner.
The OpenWorks team will officially launch their SkyWall drone defence system at a Home Office event next week.
Skywall comprises a portable compressed-air launcher that fires intelligent projectiles and a computerised scope to calculate the drone’s flight path and direct the operator on where to aim the launcher.
Chris Down, managing director of OpenWorks, said: “OpenWorks Engineering believes that security enforcement authorities need a cost-effective and proportionate way of protecting the public and high-profile individuals. We wanted to put a system on the market that offered just that.
“Authorities around the world have been looking for a system like this and we are proud to continue the tradition of British innovation in the security industry.”
Only last month an Air France Airbus A320 jet narrowly avoided colliding with a drone while descending for an approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
The aircraft had been operating a service from Barcelona on 19 February and was flying about 1,700 metres above ground when the co-pilot saw the drone. He immediately disengaged the autopilot and carried out an avoidance manoeuvre while informing the captain of the drone's presence.
The drone passed just five metres below the aircraft's left wing, and the incident was described as ‘serious’ by French authorities who are conducting an investigation.