Dinosaurs vs. Robots - What could possibly go wrong?
February 1, 2016 10:10 PM   Subscribe

Dutch National police are training eagles to take down drones.
posted by Mitheral (37 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Next, the drone will arm themselves against the eagles.

And then? EAGLES WITH LASER PACKS.

Fuck you bear cavalry.
posted by eriko at 10:20 PM on February 1, 2016 [27 favorites]


We've seen a huge uptick in the number of drones we see from Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands (part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, so part of the NPS system, where drones are illegal) in the last couple years. I'm pretty sure this not something that's workable for where we are, but I can dream....

People do an astonishing amount of illegal shit that we can see - we are birders who have many thousands of dollars' worth of optics that we are very good at using. We will not call the rangers on you for peeing off-trail, but we have and will call them when you ride your dirt bikes through sensitive habitat and the like. Count on it.
posted by rtha at 10:41 PM on February 1, 2016 [42 favorites]


Start building veteran(aerie) hospitals for the inevitable amputees.
posted by fairmettle at 10:51 PM on February 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


The time to worry is when the drones and laser eagles start cooperating and conspiring against us.
posted by threecheesetrees at 12:36 AM on February 2, 2016 [3 favorites]




Angry birds, indeed.


This is an awesome idea till rotors are ramped up to booby traps. Maybe work raptors in pairs (I know they're solo except for Harris and some Aussie birds). One to disable (teeny helmets!) one to retrieve...
posted by tilde at 2:23 AM on February 2, 2016


Here's why we can't have nice things (and need eagles to take down rogue drones).
posted by cstross at 3:44 AM on February 2, 2016


Hawk vs Drone
posted by Kabanos at 4:02 AM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is so cute.
posted by Skaffen-Amtiskaw at 5:05 AM on February 2, 2016


This is an awesome idea till rotors are ramped up to booby traps

There's a Guardian article that touches on this without going into details, but the rotors apparently aren't an issue with the raptors.

Birds' (at least some, and I presume most) vision is processed at a much higher effective frame rate than a human's, something like 110 frames per second for a pigeon, I seem to recall. Aside from making a motion picture look like a series of still images, I'm guessing it lets the eagles see the blades as moving objects, not just a blur, and they avoid them.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 5:34 AM on February 2, 2016 [15 favorites]


That's pretty awesome, los pantalones del muerte. Thanks for that info.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:54 AM on February 2, 2016


Those spinning blades could seriously injure the eagle! I liked the counterdrones armed with nets better.
posted by miyabo at 6:11 AM on February 2, 2016


Begun this battle of the Five Armies has.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:14 AM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Houston, the Eagle has landed.....

(thump claw crash)

....Houston, we've had a problem here.
posted by eriko at 6:36 AM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Not exactly sure why, but when people spend boodles of money to train animals to perform very specific tasks (and they aren't dogs or dolphins) I am now forever reminded of Secret Kitty from the Memory Palace.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:24 AM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Watchbird" by Robert Sheckley?
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:32 AM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Since when did glorified RC helicopters become known as drones? A drone should be a satellite-guided flying death machine, not a Toys-r-us reject.
posted by dr_dank at 8:29 AM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've always preferred "UAV" to "drone" for the death machines, myself. I think the "drone" terminology for the commercial devices refers to the AI flight assistance as much as anything else. From what I understand, drone pilots give the drone AI commands about where to fly rather than directly controlling the flight surfaces as they would in a traditional RC vehicle.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:32 AM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Here's what drone means.

Perhaps that's not what it used to mean or what it should mean, which you could say about most words in the English language.
posted by eye of newt at 8:39 AM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure this not something that's workable for where we are, but I can dream....

You guys have pretty near absolute constitutional rights to bear arms don't you? Unlike say Canada Geese, I doubt there's a huge ethical issue with potshotting illegal drones with a .22 varmint rifle. What are the pilots going to do, admit they were breaking the law? It's like robbing from drug dealers, practically a public service.
posted by bonehead at 9:13 AM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


bonehead, while I agree in principle with the idea of taking potshots at drones, I think shooting a .22 up into the air at random angles (even .22 shorts) could entail collateral damage.
posted by tippiedog at 9:57 AM on February 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


eagles are turning people into horses!
posted by vs at 9:58 AM on February 2, 2016


Unlike say Canada Geese, I doubt there's a huge ethical issue with potshotting illegal drones with a .22 varmint rifle.

There's a huge legal problem. That would be destroying an aircraft in legal airspace, and that's a major no-no. It would also be destruction of property, since the drone is (currently, at least) allowed to operate in parts of the US Airspace. And by parts, I mean most of it -- basically, if you're not commercial, the thing weighs under 55 pounds, you stay under 400' AGL, and you stay more than 5 miles away from an towered or controlled airport, you're legal. You can even fly within 5 miles of the airport, but you have to tell the airport and get clearance if it's anything but Category G airspace.

There's also a proposed rule, that raises the limit to 500' AGL, limits to 87 knots airspeed, required 3 miles visibility, bars them from Class A airspace and requires clearance for class B,C,D and E airspace, and require markings on the drone (just as all aircraft are required to have.) Full overview here (pdf.) But that's a proposed rule, it hasn't been published yet.
posted by eriko at 9:58 AM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


bonehead, while I agree in principle with the idea of taking potshots at drones, I think shooting a .22 up into the air at random angles (even .22 shorts) could entail collateral damage.

You'd really want birdshot. Anything heavier means you really have to worry about the round coming back, but the terminal velocity on #7 birdshot is pretty low and the mass of each is about .1 gram, so the energy there is very low. You might need a little bigger, but firing anything larger than #4 birdshot and you have to start worrying about what comes back.

40mm Borfors fire is completely out of the question here.
posted by eriko at 10:02 AM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's illegal to discharge a weapon within a certain range of a domicile in most places, anyway. So, that's a big no on setting up a drone blind in your backyard.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:13 AM on February 2, 2016


So, that's a big no on setting up a drone blind in your backyard.

Plus you have to cook them a long time to make them tender enough to eat.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:18 AM on February 2, 2016 [11 favorites]


There's a huge legal problem.

Well, if it's already being used to commit a crime...

Anyway, a good slingshot and a handful of 1/2" steel balls would be both discreet and get around the worst of the firearm laws, not to mention a healthy and fun family bonding activity.
posted by bonehead at 10:21 AM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was also worried about the injuries, so it's super interesting that they can see the blades and avoid them. We've had a hawk attack a drone in a park near here, when the pilot decided that he should fly around them for pictures.

Drones strike me as the same as Google Glass; I can see a lot of positive uses for them, but so many of the users decide to be assholes that I ended up negative on the whole idea.
posted by tavella at 10:29 AM on February 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


so it's super interesting that they can see the blades and avoid them.

I think this is false for several reasons:
1) Quadcopter motors typically run at around 6600 RPM = 111 rotations per second. Even if eagles could resolve 'frames' at 120 hz, each blade would still make almost a complete revolution in each frame (and keep in mind that the two blades' smeared images would overlap).
2) Eagles don't seem to be especially picky about where they put their feet when they're grabbing prey-- when you've evolved to hunt squishy mammals, you can pretty much skewer them anywhere.
3) In the videos you can see that the blades are in fact stopped by their legs because the only reasonable way to grab the quadcopter from above puts their lower legs right into the blades' path.

I think the eagles are only avoiding serious injury in this case because it is a very low-powered drone, and I wouldn't be surprised if they're still getting cut up a bit.
posted by Pyry at 12:48 PM on February 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ok, so if i announce planes are now allowed to land in my driveway and my house is now an airport, what do I need to provide to the FAA to meet compliance and then how far do the drones need to stay away?
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:18 PM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Good thing the Dutch Eagle Police have the MetaFilter's raptor/aerial robot experts to point out potential problems with this that they definitely would not have considered on their own.
posted by cmoj at 3:23 PM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


> From what I understand, drone pilots give the drone AI commands about where to fly rather than directly controlling the flight surfaces as they would in a traditional RC vehicle.

Mostly that's true because they're controlling over satellite, and satellites add network latency that make it difficult to do precision remote control.

However, the aircraft are launched and landed by controllers located at or near the airport being used; the operators in the Nevada desert hand the control over to the guys at Kandahar (or whatever) and vice-versa.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:47 PM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


> Ok, so if i announce planes are now allowed to land in my driveway and my house is now an airport, what do I need to provide to the FAA to meet compliance and then how far do the drones need to stay away?

Unless you're in Houston, you're going to have a zoning problem long before you have an FAA problem. You're also going to need to rebuild your driveway a bit.

Might be cheaper to erect a mostly-transparent net wall around your house, up to 400 feet. Of course, you'll have to pick the birds out of it every day, and the bats every morning. There are no good legal solutions against drones: can't shoot them, can't jam them, can't hijack them.

Super-soaker might be an option, but if you miss or are out of range, there's going to be footage of you looking silly.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:52 PM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Super-soaker might be an option, but if you miss or are out of range, there's going to be footage of you looking silly.

How 'bout a supersoaker turret?
posted by MoTLD at 7:16 PM on February 2, 2016


Anyway, a good slingshot and a handful of 1/2" steel balls would be both discreet and get around the worst of the firearm laws, not to mention a healthy and fun family bonding activity.

Then your neighbors have 1/2" steel balls hailing down at 50 meters/second.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:18 PM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Depending on how close the drone is, how about Silly-String or a Coke/Mentos cannon? I would think even wasp spray that shoots like 12 feet could gum up the propeller axles.
posted by blueberry at 11:28 PM on February 2, 2016


Famously, net guns!

Real world usage:
...
TECHNIQUES
Capture:
Different techniques were used in attempts to capture surf scoters during March and April of 2001, 2002 and 2003. These methods included mist netting, night lighting, and the use of a capture net gun. The latter device eventually proved to be the only successful technique in Chesapeake Bay. The ducks were captured by chasing them down in a high powered boat, and then shooting the capture net gun (Coda, Inc.). The technique worked best when the ducks were just taking off from the water, and when water conditions were calm.

store
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:45 PM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


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