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Drones can defend themselves with an anti-laser jammer

Engadget logo Engadget 11/09/2016 Jon Fingas
© Provided by Engadget

There are plenty of efforts to make drone-destroying lasers. But what about protecting those drones? Adsys Controls thinks it can help. It's making Helios, a passive jammer that confuses laser weapons. If it detects an incoming laser beam, it detects the traits of that beam (such as its pulse and wavelength) and interferes with them to prevent the laser from locking on and toasting the drone. The company won't say exactly how this interference works, although it may be a counter laser. The one certainty is that it's reliable -- this is "permanent protection" against subsequent lock-on attempts, not just a momentary break.

You may have to wait a while to see Helios in action, since there's no mention of contracts at the moment. Also, it's not certain how well this works. Can a laser target a part of the drone without the jammer catching it? And is the system quick enough to stop higher-power lasers that can burn a drone within a few seconds at most? Still, drones don't really have anti-laser defenses right now. Any protection is bound to be helpful, and Adsys' solution could be highly effective if it lives up to the hype.

Adsys Controls

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