DroneWars Battelle DroneDefender-vers-SkyWall 100: SkyWall 100 is one more variation on the anti-drone net gun concept. DroneShield, which makes the drone-detecting acoustic sensors, at one point experimented with such a device. (DroneShield officials emphasize that they are exclusively in the detection market now.) That net gun, resembling those used for animal control, was about the size of a large flashlight. But it was a close-range weapon, only able to reach drones hovering 50 feet away. To fix the range issue, other companies have mounted net guns on drones for air-to-air attack. Take the EXCIPIO Aerial Netting System. Developed by Theiss UAV Solutions, this flying gun can catch up to a rotary-wing drone, dramatically extending the range of the net solution. Even so, trying to take down a fast fixed-wing drone is tricky, so the company is working on sensors and autonomous controls to get EXCIPIO locked on target. Tne problem with shooting a drone out of the sky, however you accomplish that task, is that it falls. Potentially on people. That’s why the ground-based SkyWall 100 has a parachute attached to its net. The air-to-air folks, meanwhile, have had to come up with their own solutions. The French-built Drone Interceptor MP200, for instance, flies with an unfurled net to entangle targets, though doing so will affect speed and maneuverability. By contrast, the Drone Catcher, developed by Michigan Tech University’s Human-Interactive Robotics Lab, fires a net with a tether.
EXCIPIO will have a tether and a parachute, Theiss UAV Solutions founder Shawn Theiss says. “We have the option of relocating [the drone] by keeping it attached to [the tether] or releasing it and letting it parachute down” if it’s too big to be carried away, he says.