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Japan unveils net-wielding police drones for air patrol

Cop copters to snag misbehaving civilian flyers

By Shaun Nichols, 11 Dec 2015

Police in Tokyo are preparing a fleet of drones to police hobbyist aircraft in the city.

According to a report from Japan Today, the Metropolitan Police Department has assembled a squad of dozens of officers who will use the police quadcopters to catch and take down unruly drones operating in unsafe or illegal conditions.

Among the techniques police will use to take violators out of the sky is large nets. The 2-3 meter nets attach to the bottom of the police drones and, when flown near the civilian craft, will hopefully snag the wayward copters' blades and safely return them to earth.

The net-equipped drones provide a novel solution to the growing problem of policing drones and enforcing laws on safe flight. Earlier this year, police in Japan were called in to investigate after a drone containing trace amounts of radioactive material landed on the roof of the Prime Minister's residence.

Japan is not the only nation looking for better ways to regulate drones and enforce aviation laws. With many first-time drone owners unaware of the laws covering safe flight, craft have been spotted flying over restricted areas such as airports or crowded sports stadiums, where civilian craft are generally prohibited from flying.

In the US, the FAA is preparing a new set of registration requirements aimed at helping police track down offending drone owners when their craft run afoul of restricted airspace or fly outside of their recommended altitudes.

Below is a video of the Japanese police drones in action. ®

Youtube Video

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing