SALEM, Ohio -
The increased use of drones has inspired a Salem company to invent a product to capture drones in midair.
Theiss UVA Solutions has unveiled EXCIPIO, a non-destructive unmanned aircraft that launches a net to capture drones and other targets.
While in earlier versions of EXCIPIO drones that were shot of out the air fell to the ground, a new version features a tether that attaches the netted target to EXCIPIO so it can be flown to a different location according to Shawn Theiss, General Manager and founder of the company.
If the captured drone weighs too much for EXCIPIO to carry or if the target has been relocated to the desired location, the tether can be detached. The net will be released equipped with a small parachute to slow its descent to the ground.
Theiss said this system is non-destructive because EXCIPIO does not use hostile forms of capture.
“It's not shooting things like a bullet or destructive forms of pyrotechnics,” Theiss said.
Development of the system began in 2014 in response to a need expressed by the U.S. military. By January 2015, the company had a prototype system completed.
“This is not being developed to attack the hobbyist or commercial application that is flying legally,” Theiss said in a news release. “It is for those flying with ill intentions. It unfortunately is something we need to be prepared for.”
Theiss said to fly EXCIPIO the owner must follow Federal Aviation Administration guidelines for registering and operating the drone. Theiss added that no special licensing is needed to operate the net launcher attached to the drone.
The current model is manually operated and requires two people to handle it: one person to pilot the drone and another to fire the net.
According to Theiss, the company is working on an even more advanced models.
EXCIPIO's target market is for law enforcement, but Theiss said that there are plans on licensing the drone for commercial use, such as for hobbyists.
More information on FAA drone regulations may be found here.
Video of an earlier model of EXCIPIO may be found here.