updated 12/12/15 2:04pm.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has established a drone squad, designed to locate and – if necessary – capture nuisance drones flown by members of the public, is to be launched by police in Tokyo.
Japan’s first unit specifically designed to capture rogue drones, the department has been formed as part of the MPD’s riot squad. The drone squad will operate large drones with specially designed nets to catch rogue drones flying in restricted airspace, such as over important buildings or crowds.
The drone squad is composed of several dozen people selected from the riot squad, and will be utilized whenever significant suspicious drone activity is reported, AsiaOne reports. The squad will first warn the operator of the illegal drone via loudspeaker; if the drone is not immediately removed from the vicinity the squad will launch a larger drone to capture it.
The MPD drone will carry a long rectangular net hanging beneath it to cover the propellers of the rogue drone and capture it without causing the drone to crash. The department has been training squad members to operate the drones for several months, and announced the new unit on Thursday. Development is also underway on geofencing technology.
“We realise the need to adapt to the changing times and continually develop our security measures. We’ll devote every effort to defending our airspace,” an MPD senior official told AsiaOne.
The squad was formed as a response to the amended Civil Aeronautics Law that came into effect on Thursday, prohibiting the flight of drones in densely populated areas and over certain buildings. The new regulations are a reaction to fears of terrorism in Japan, as a drone carrying radioactive material recently landed on the roof of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office, and there are concerns about terrorist attacks at the upcoming Ise-shima summit (the 2016 G-7 summit which will be held this spring.) In preparation for the summit, a further ordinance prohibiting drones anywhere within 1.5 km of the summit facilities has been drafted and awaits approval.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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