Remote-controlled drones are everywhere these days. I might be paranoid, but I always wonder: what, exactly, are they doing up there?
Maybe they’re innocently filming their kid’s soccer game, or maybe not…
But now my tinfoil hat and I can have some peace, thanks to the HP 47 Counter UAV Jammer.
The HP Jammer made headlines earlier this month as Swiss police officers donned their Hoth Snowtrooper outfits and prepared to fight off the impending drone attack at this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
Swiss law enforcement didn’t get an opportunity to use their new toy (as far as we know), but I was intrigued by the weapon (?), and I wanted to learn more about it.
Sadly, it doesn’t shoot projectiles from the three black tubes on the front half of the gun. Instead, it emits disrupting signals that disable a drone’s ability to communicate with its radio controller. This causes the drone to hover in midair until it can be taken out by sniper fire or a rocket-propelled net.
It sounds like overkill, but small, remote-controlled drones have turned into a serious security threat over the last few years.
In Davos, authorities were concerned that drones could be used to map police and security positions and conduct surveillance. And, as everyone’s favorite Youtube star proved last summer, arming a drone is well within the realm of possibility.
The U.S. Secret Service dealt with two drone incidents at the White House earlier this year. While no one was injured and the drone operators did not seem to have nefarious intent, their ability to fly so close to the White House demonstrated the potential risks security forces face from these unmanned flying machines.
Bloomberg.com reported that, while the market for commercial applications of drone technology is estimated at $2 billion, it could be worth $127 billion by 2020, according to consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Such rapid growth could mean that the HP Jammer becomes a common sight at any large gathering of people. Its small, lightweight design allows it to be carried and operated by a single person. It also features narrow bandwidths, which, with the help of its sighting system, allow it to be precisely aimed and keep it from disrupting other radio signals the area.
Michal Mazur, a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ drone division, told Bloomberg.com that in the past anti-drone technologies have been primarily used in the Middle East to protect against terrorism. But terrorist organizations like ISIS have brought the fight to countries outside the Middle East, and law enforcement agencies are beginning to take the necessary precautions.