As technology in the United States continues to evolve exponentially, there have been some vast concerns over consumer-level devices that could hamper law enforcement or make the 4th Amendment difficult to enforce.
Of course, we’re talking about unmanned aerial vehicles, or, drones.
These lightweight quadcopter devices were once the playthings of only the rich and famous, with the technology’s developmental costs pricing out the Average Joe’s recreational budget for years. As with all bits of technology in a free market, however, the cost of operating a camera drone has plummeted in the last few years, with HD-equipped amateur devices clocking in under $100, and perfectly professional options setting Americans back between $1,000 and $2,000.
This means, of course, that there are a lot more drones out there today than there were just a few years ago.
Now, if you’re like us, there are some serious concerns about the rampant expansion of the nation’s private drone fleet. Namely, can these devices be used to peer into our otherwise private spaces, and, additionally, what can be done to stop creative ne’er do wells from turning their drones into weapons?
For quite a while, the answers were vague. Some states, such as Texas, briefly floated the idea of allowing people to disable foreign drones on their property by firearm, but this dangerous idea was quickly shot down, (no pun intended), thanks to common sense.
Now, one company has developed a projectile-free “drone gun” that could change the game.
“Australian firm DroneShield first came to our attention in 2016 with the fearsome-looking DroneGun, an almighty shoulder-mounted contraption that jams the signal between the rogue drone and its operator, bringing the copter slowly back to terra firma.
“This week the team unveiled a more compact version called the DroneGun Tactical.
“At 56 inches in length and with a less bulky body, the Tactical is much more portable than the earlier design (below). The operator only needs to point the device at a drone and pull the trigger. This should jam the drone’s signal, causing the machine to automatically return to its owner, allowing the authorities to identify and question the pilot. If it’s important to bring down the drone more quickly, the jammer can interfere with the drone’s GPS system, forcing it to pretty much land on the spot.
“DroneShield CEO Oleg Vornik told Digital Trends the Tactical was developed ‘following close collaboration and feedback from a number of NATO militaries,’ adding, ‘We consider it the best in class globally, with stronger power, lighter weight and top-of-the-line ergonomics.’”
For the time being, the Drone Gun Tactical will only be available to law enforcement and government agencies looking to bolster their defenses against rogue UAV owners and possible evil doers.
Yet, given the broad range of frequency-jamming knowledge already available on the consumer market, there is little doubt that a consumer version of the “weapon” will be available sooner rather than later.