9 Dec 2015

Japan's plan to catch drones with drones

9:07 pm on 9 December 2015

Police in Tokyo are to introduce interceptor drones with nets to catch suspicious drones in sensitive areas.

These drones, developed by a venture company set up by Chiba University, will be mass-produced about 4000 per year in two years in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture.

A drone lifts off for a maiden flight in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture. Photo: Masanaori Genko / Yomiuri / The Yomiuri Shimbun / AFP

The move will be a first in Japan, which tightened drone regulations after one was found on the roof of the prime minister's office in April carrying a small amount of sand contaminated with radiation.

The interceptors, dangling a rectangular net and equipped with a camera, will only be deployed against suspicious drones after attempts to locate and warn their operators.

The latest regulations ban drone flights near airports, in densely populated areas and anywhere more than 150m off the ground.