Drones quickly become an invention which seemed good in theory, but is now annoying in practice. While most people are happy flying their GoPros around abandoned buildings and Scientology compounds, it only takes one bad guy who wants to drop drugs by drone into a jail to ruin things for the rest of us. For every company that wants to deliver cheap hand soap to your doorstep, there's an organization calculating how many lives it can destroy in coordinated drone attacks.
The problem is that drones entered the market long before there were any regulations on them. Though the US is set to have new rules in place by the end of this year, states have left to their own devices, which means uneven and vague laws across the country. It's still totally legal to take aerial shots pretty much anywhere, and that means paparazzi have free range to stalk celebrities from the comfort of the sky. Even Kanye West is concerned.
And yet, with the relative freedom drones still enjoy, there's really no good way to stop them. Though using them as skeet shooting practice is tempting, it's still illegal to shoot down a drone, even if it's flying over your own house.
Boeing's solution to the entire debacle was to release a drone-killing laser cannon. It works, but isn't available to the general public, and is insanely expensive. A more viable alternative has arrived from a company called Battelle that has developed the DroneDefender. The concept is simple: interrupt GPS and remote control signals to bring the droid to the ground. See the video below for the device in action.
The DroneDefender is portable and cost effective. It hasn't received its FCC endorsement and there's no word if it will be available to the general public after the endorsement is received, but it's a step in the right direction.
It's also a pretty simple idea: signals are relatively easy to intercept, it's just difficult intercepting them at a distance. And that's another downside to the DroneDefender: it only works at up to 400m. That means if the military wants to stop a drone attack, it would first have to locate the drone, get within 400 meters of it, and then attempt to land it. But solutions need to happen, and happen fast: ISIS already has drones, and as they absorb more terrorist cells into their own, the amount and power of their drones will only increase.
The bottom line is that the DroneDefender is a useful aid in the defense against drones, but we're still a long way away from protecting entire countries from malicious drone attacks, and still far away from protecting even our own homes.