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China Government Transportation

China's Police Will Shoot Illegal Drones With Radio-Jamming Rifles (mashable.com) 62

"Police in China are being equipped with new high-tech weaponry to help them fight back against illegal drone use," writes new submitter drunkdrone. Mashable reports: A Chinese city's police department is arming itself with more than 20 drone-jamming rifles...which work by emitting radio signals that force the drones to land, purportedly without damaging them. The drone-killing rifles will be used during the upcoming 2017 Wuhan Marathon, to raise security. Wuhan police demonstrated the drone-killing rifles last week, where they shot down six drones, according to the Chutian Metropolitan Daily.
Each rifle costs $36,265, and has a range of 0.6 miles.

China's Police Will Shoot Illegal Drones With Radio-Jamming Rifles

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  • but you have to wait four weeks for shipment
  • Each rifle costs $36,265, and has a range of 0.6 miles.

    Bold mine.

    Here's how:

    Incorporate software in the drones to keep them at 0.7miles and above, while still doing what they need to do.

    How about that?

    • Or, like some missiles:

      The killer drones could be pre-programmed to attack a given target, with some on-board flight adjustment options, and radio contact is unnecessary to guide them.

    • Incorporate software in the drones to keep them at 0.7miles and above, while still doing what they need to do.

      To put this in perspective, that's just over 1km high, which is over twice the height of the Empire State Building, and comfortably above the 830m height of the world's current tallest building, the Burj Kalifa.

      Even if you've got a drone that has that sort of range- which is going to be at the upper limit or beyond most consumer drones at present anyway- you're not going to get close enough to view anything of note in worthwhile detail in the vast majority of situations.

  • Regular rifles can permanently jam a radio signal to a drone too... If you hit it right... (in the receiver...)

  • ...which work by emitting radio signals that force the drones to land, purportedly without damaging them. The drone-killing rifles

    This doesn't sound like what most people would consider "drone killing". But I guess that makes a better headline than drone disabling.

  • ...would be cheaper, have a longer range, and require less direction. Apparently, eagles naturally hate drones and will seek them out and take them down. They're pretty effective too: https://www.youtube.com/result... [youtube.com]
  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday March 18, 2017 @06:16PM (#54067041)

    China's Police Will Shoot Illegal Drones With Radio-Jamming Rifles

    Wouldn't it be cheaper to shoot the drones using radio-jamming rifles?

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      So focused ionising radiation, so drone rifles or cancer guns. I hear the CIA had the idea first, not to shoot down drones, though.

  • Useful. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Saturday March 18, 2017 @06:19PM (#54067053)

    You can use them to jam radios and cameras in protester crowds too, to make sure those embarrassing videos don't reach the internet.

    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      You can use them to jam radios and cameras in protester crowds too, to make sure those embarrassing videos don't reach the internet instantaneously.

      FTFY

      As long as there is local storage of video, you will never be able to suppress embarrassing videos.

    • Good point, but the Chinese are actually rather resourceful and will surely realise that they can cover their camera or phone in aluminium foil with apertures for the objective and the focus finder, to protect against such EM jamming. This will make instant upload impossible, of course, but will enable uninterrupted recording.

  • Good news everyone! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday March 18, 2017 @06:30PM (#54067083) Journal
    This should improve the odds that cheapo Chinese drones start to feature more robust IMU/gyro/etc. based fallbacks for dealing with excessive RF noise!

    In all seriousness, jamming a drone obviously makes life harder, since it excludes all 'basically just an RC airplane' hardware; prevents the operator from getting footage or issuing new commands, and so on; but it's hardly some rule of the universe that 'just make a docile attempt at landing' is the inevitable response to hitting a nasty RF spike. A variety of options, from heuristics of various sophistication for backing out and trying to escape the jamming; to attempts to fly straight toward where the emissions are most intense and ruin the jammer's day; to just dead-reckoning via onboard sensors and a backup flight path, all exist.

    And that doesn't include the drones that actually have some nontrivial machine vision capabilities, or sensors other than cameras that can be used for navigation, though such tend to be rather more expensive.
    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday March 19, 2017 @06:52AM (#54068493) Homepage Journal

      In all seriousness, jamming a drone obviously makes life harder, since it excludes all 'basically just an RC airplane' hardware;

      It doesn't. Fixed-wing drones exist, and are literally nothing but a normal plane with the addition of an Arduino (or similar) and a IMU board. I've got one right here. It's simple enough to have the drone fly a pattern or return to home on failsafe. Even Multiwii can land your fixed-wing drone if you've got it programmed correctly, and have a decent altimeter and a sonar on it. I haven't installed the sonar yet, though I have it.

      t's hardly some rule of the universe that 'just make a docile attempt at landing' is the inevitable response to hitting a nasty RF spike.

      If they are clever they are hijacking the control protocol and giving it slight down on all channels. That should make it spiral slowly to the ground. DSM/DSM2 has been broken wide open and the information made public, and the same attack with minor variations will work on most of the control protocols because they are not well-protected. They jump predictably between a couple of different frequencies. You'd also want to jam GPS. Just nailing it with HERF might or might not do any good; if it has a sensible failsafe it won't down the drone if all it does is interfere with radio communications. And if someone starts using HERF then drones will simply begin to be shielded. It may be nontrivial, but it only has to be figured out once and then everyone else can copy it.

  • The Chinese already have human overlords, they don't need robotic ones [slashdot.org].

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Saturday March 18, 2017 @06:53PM (#54067139)

    But can the jamming rifles be used on boom-box cars? THAT would be nice...

    • But can the jamming rifles be used on boom-box cars?

      A regular rifle is good enough for that. If the car is loud enough, no one will hear the shots.

  • I'm interested in knowing what the rifles actually do.

    If it's jamming the control frequency, then the drone may simply report loss of controller communication and automatically return to where it's home position was recorded.

    OTOH, if it causes the drone to fall out of the sky, then the drone could cause other unforeseen problems.

    Either way an RF emitting rifle is much more cost effective than a patriot missile.

  • For just 80 times the cost, A US Ally Shot Down a $200 Drone With a $3 Million Patriot Missile [slashdot.org], superior US military technology can shoot it down at up to 160 times the distance! Wikipedia: MIM-104 Patriot [wikipedia.org].

    Superior Patriot technology let you protect against drones in a 80 524 times as large area at a cost effectiveness at 100:1 considering the low extra cost at 80x the price of this anti-drone rifle!

  • What if said drone navigates via an INS and gyros, and isn't controlled from the ground but via a pre-programmed flight plan? It sounds like this defense, while probably effective against your average DJI Phantom bought at Walmart, will do nothing to deter someone motivated enough to use a drone as a weapon. Hell, it probably won't even work against drones that don't rely on GPS and are controlled on something other than 2.4Ghz.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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