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Can You Teach Drones to Hunt Each Other? Falcons May Hold the Secret

December 5, 2017, 1:32 PM UTC

Falcons might be the secret to defeating drones.

As unmanned aerial vehicles become cheaper and more accessible, everyone from police forces to the International Air Transport Association to the U.S. Military are looking for ways to overpower drones. Now zoology researchers at the University of Oxford think they might have the solution in nature.

In a study funded by the U.S. Air Force, researchers reviewed video and GPS data of peregrine falcons’ aerial hunting behavior and noticed some interesting patterns they think can apply to the development of drones intended to intercept other drones.

Like missiles, falcons are guided by sight when they hunt, and as long as its line of sight is clear as it closes in, it won’t miss the target. But falcons, unlike missiles, approach their targets at relatively slow speeds and have to adjust their angle of attack accordingly. The researchers believe this angle of attack could be useful for drones designed to attack other drones.

This is not the first time birds and drones have intersected. In 2015 an eagle in Australia “punched” a drone out of the sky. Several police forces have also looked into the possibility of using trained eagles to hunt drones, but unfortunately it only seems to work when they’re hungry or defending their territory.

The Pentagon has looked into several methods to disable drones including lasers and frequency jamming.