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Tokyo Police to Deploy Net-Carrying Drone to Catch Rogue Drones

Author: Randall D. Larson

Date: 2015-12-12
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From a story by Keith Wagstaff/NBC News and a stories posted in JapanToday and by Asahi Shimbun

In order to stop suspicious-looking drones from flying into restricted airspace near government buildings, Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Japan hopes to use its own unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to snare these rogue drones.

Right: The Metropolitan Police Department's drone is equipped with a net to capture suspicious drones.
(photo via the Metropolitan Police Department Security Bureau)

New regulations have come into force to ban unmanned aerial vehicles from flying over crowded residential areas, MPD officials said. "Terrorist attacks using drones carrying explosives are a possibility," a senior officer in Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department told Asahi Shimbun.

Airspace restrictions were tightened when new regulations took effect on Dec. 10th under the revised Civil Aeronautical Law. The change was prompted by the increasing prevalence of drone use by the public and in response to a small drone with a minuscule amount of radiation that was found on the roof of the prime minister’s office building last April.

The drone carries a large 10 x 6.5-foot net that that will capture the rogue drone by entangling its rotors in the net (see video below). In addition to allowing police to stop drones from entering restricted airspace, by capturing the offending drone, it will also keep it from falling onto the street below, where it could cause damage to a vehicle or injure a pedestrian.

The police drone will enter service this month, managed by the MPD’s unit in charge of patrolling the Diet building, the prime minister’s office, the Imperial Palace, and other significant locations in Tokyo. The unit consists of dozens of officers trained in drone operations. When drones are spotted in no-fly zones, the squad will search for the operators and order them to ground the drones. If they fail to comply, the squad will scramble large drones equipped with cameras and nets measuring 2 to 3 meters in length.

Click here to watch a short video about the MPD's drone on YouTube.

Related 9-1-1 Magazine Story on public safety concerns about drones operating in airspace over emergency incidents: Incident Command & Control and the UAV

- People, Places & Things/9-1-1magazine.com 

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