Boeing Has a Solution for Handling Troublesome Drones: A Laser Cannon

Go to any park on a weekend and you’re bound to see somebody flying their toy drone around. They’re basically the new kites — only a lot more expensive. As popular as recreational drones have become in the past couple of years, they’ve brought with them their own set of safety and security issues.

Earlier this month somebody tried to sneak drugs and pornography into a prison with a drone, and the quadcopters regularly fly into airport zones. It’s only a matter of time before a drone flies into a commercial jet and sends it plummeting to the ground.

So what’s the best solution to keeping drones out of the places they’re not supposed to be?

Well, Boeing might just have the best option yet and we could see it soon become a fixture at every airport in the country: laser cannons.

The company demoed its drone fighting laser cannon last week in New Mexico. While it’s not as impressive visually as your sci-fi movie lasers – there’s no visible beam from the two-kilowatt infrared laser – but the tripod setup is more than capable of taking down a drone in about two seconds flat. We’re talking mini Death Star power here.

The laser is incredibly accurate too, and can completely destroy a drone or simply burn off one of its propellers so it crashes to the ground. The amount of drone destruction is all in the cannon user’s touch. Since the laser moves at the speed of light, it’s easier to be precise—no leading the target necessary.

Even cooler, the laser cannon doesn’t cost millions of dollars. It can be operated with an Xbox 360 controller. And only needs a standard 220 volt electrical outlet or batter pack to operate. “This represents a low-cost way to deal with the threat,” said David DeYoung, director of Boeing Laser & Electro-Optical Systems.

The company hopes to have the laser cannon fully ready to start blowing drones out of the sky and on the front lawn of the White House within two years.

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