In the future, drones could patrol the skies, hunting for other drones. They might not need lasers or advanced technology to do it — instead, they could simply use a net.
Researchers from Michigan Technological University's HIRoLab have created a "drone-catcher" that ensnares rogue unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by shooting out a net.
It's similar to a system developed by Tokyo police to stop drones that fly into restricted airspace. The Japanese UAV is a little different because it flies with a net hanging underneath it.
HIRoLab's drone actually launches a net. It can fly autonomously or can be flown by a pilot.
Like the Japanese drone, the UAV from HIRoLab doesn't let its prey drop to the ground, instead carrying it until it can reach a secure area.
Mo Rastgaar, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan Technological University, got the idea after he heard about the quadcopter that crashed on the White House lawn last January.
"I thought, 'If the threat is a drone, you really don't want to shoot it down — it might contain explosives and blow up,'" he said in a news release. "What you want to do is catch it and get it out of there."
Researchers have filed a patent for the drone-catching system.