You Will Soon Be Able to Buy a Drone-Killing Death Ray

A new weapon can take out flying robots from a mile away.

There’s an arms race going on to find novel ways to kill drones, and it has inevitably led to this: an anti-drone death ray.

The Guardian reported that British tech companies Enterprise, Chess Systems and Blighter have put their heads together and developed a device that “can knock an unmanned aerial vehicle out of the sky by turning it off in midair.” 

Decidedly unique uses for drones that have made it into the news sparked the effort, reported the Guardian, citing events like that time an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) delivered heroin and various other sundries to a prison yard.

Liteye, a U.S. company working with the overseas manufacturers, presented the drone death ray at  the Commercial UAV Expo in Vegas. Their product is called the Anti-UAV Defense System, or AUDS, and it presents—as the Guardian reported—”like a particularly menacing pair of weather vanes.” 

While “death ray” might bring to mind something like a laser cannon, AUDS is actually a radio gun—focused radio antennas which have been calibrated to interfere with the frequency that links a drone to its controller. It essentially cuts the invisible tether that ties a drone to its pilot.

Liteye’s Rick Sondag told the Guardian that he thinks the device might actually be good for fending off more stringent anti-drone government regulations, as it would give officials a means to “critical infrastructure,” eliminating the need to “pass laws that will hamper progress and hamper current use.

As the military is already testing practical applications of drone swarms, we think the drone death ray may have arrived right on time.