For law enforcement officers around the world, partnering with animals is a time-honored tradition. Mounted police do their duty on horseback — and, in some countries, camel back. Specially trained dogs serve and protect by sniffing out drugs and explosives. But in the Netherlands, police officers are inaugurating a new species of animal partner — eagles — to take down illegal aerial drones.
In a statement released Jan. 31, the Dutch National Police Corps announced a new initiative using birds of prey to intercept unwanted drones. The program was developed and tested in partnership with Guard from Above (GFA), a Dutch company located in the Hague that specializes in training large, predatory birds to "hunt" and subdue robotic prey.
A video published by the National Police Corps of an indoor demonstration shows a handler releasing an eagle, which swoops toward a hovering quadcopter drone, snatching the machine out of the air and flying off with it into a corner of the training ring.