The Dutch authorities are currently training eagles to capture drones that are violating the Dutch law. The Dutch Ministry of Transport has mentioned recently that there is an increasing trend in the number of incident reports involving drones, the unmanned aerial small machineries. Especially now since the drones are accessible on the market, the numbers of incidents involving drones are increasing. There are more incidents involving drones for recreational purposes than drones used by professionals.
When stating “accessible on the market”, this does not also apply for “accessible for everyone”. The price of a drone goes from seven hundred to maybe even thousands of dollars. Purchasing a drone is similar to purchasing a car: you need time to research the market and lots of money. It is helpful to invest time in getting to understand what a drone is and what are the differences between all the types of drones: RTF (Ready-To-Fly drones), BNF (Bind-And-Fly) and ARF(Almost-ready-to-fly). Not all drones are easy to maneuver and this makes the drone incidents foreseeable.
Returning to the statement of the Dutch Ministry of Transport, “the number of incident reports has increased from 8 in 2012 to 27 by mid-2015”. The growing pattern of using drones has a direct connection with the upward trend of “requests for project and business exemptions over the years”. The problem is the violation of law with regards to space (drones are not allowed to fly at night/low visibility at less than 50 meters from buildings and people or within a 5 km area of the airports). Furthermore, violations of law occur when there is no exemption or permission granted by the aerodrome control.
So what is it to do about those illegal flying drones?
Eagles. Trained Eagles. The Dutch company “Guard from Above” calls the eagle-solution a “low-tech solution to a high-tech problem”. Those birds of prey, characterized by their “speed and power”, are being trained to hunt and snatch the drones from the air. The birds can hit the drone is such a way that they will not suffer injuries from the rotors (The Guardian). After having successful eagle-trainings in a closed space in Rotterdam, the Dutch authorities will have to consider the efficiency of the eagles in crowded spaces. By the end of 2016, they will decide upon the authorization of the eagle-solution plan.