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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Eagles hunting Geneva police drones

Where the eagles no longer dare. Switzerland cancels its drone-busting eagle duo, due to uncertain success rates and safety concerns

Five years after Dutch police stopped using eagles to shoot down rogue drones, Swiss authorities have done the same.

The Register reported that the Geneva Cantonal Police told a local newspaper that its so-called “eagle brigade” project has been cancelled.

Swiss eagles, reportedly named Altair and Draco, began airborne anti-drone operations in 2017 to protect city dignitaries.

An Amazon delivery drone. Image Credit: Amazon

where eagles dare

Local police seem to believe that concerns for the safety of the eagles themselves, in addition to technical improvements, played a role in the avian protection squad’s demise.

“The technological and strategic improvements in terms of the use of drones make this project that uses birds of prey too uncertain, even dangerous for the physical integrity of the eagles,” Geneva Cantonal Police said, the Register quoted Sunday newspaper Le Matin Dimanch.

According to the Register, the Geneva police had brought the eagle eggs and hatched them.

Altair and Draco were then trained by a falconer on how to intercept Rebel drones.

Umberto Nassini, who headed the Geneva Falcom Association, told the Sunday newspaper that the project’s closure was disappointing.

“This represents around 100,000 francs of investment and hundreds of hours of work,” he reportedly said.

dutch eagles

This is not the first time eagles have been used to shoot down drones.

In February 2016, for example, the Dutch police trained eagles to shoot down drones that pose a threat to public safety.

Dutch police worked with a company called ‘Guard from Above’ to train the birds, which were able to attack the drones without harming themselves due to their strong claws and talons.

The police even bought four sea eagle chicks to train them.

However, in late 2017, the Dutch police revealed that they had stopped using eagles because training them was more expensive and complicated than they had anticipated.

And it seems that eagles would not always do what they were trained to do.

angry birds

And in certain countries, the issue of drones and local birds has caused some problems.

In September 2021, for example, Google’s Project Wing delivery drones in Australia faced an unexpected challenge.

A prototype Wing drone is shown with a payload.  Credit: Alphabet

‘Territorial’ ravens were reported to be attacking Google Wing delivery drones in Australia’s capital city Canberra.

Google launched the world’s first commercial drone delivery service in Australia in April 2019.

Wing drones typically delivered takeaway food, coffee and medicine via drone to around 100 homes in Canberra.

However, Wing has halted flights in the northern suburb of Harrison while bird experts assess the behavior of local ravens to ensure their welfare is protected.

Harrison resident Ben Roberts, who has been taking advantage of Wing’s deliveries during one of the Covid-19 lockdowns, captured stunning video of a crow attacking a Wing drone that was delivering his coffee order.

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