Anduril Industries, a startup founded by Palmer Luckey, one of the tech industry’s most controversial figures, is helping the U.S. military meet that need — with a drone that slams into other drones in order to destroy them.
Bloomberg got a first look at this anti-drone quadcopter, dubbed the Interceptor, in July, when Anduril engineer Jason Levin demonstrated its capabilities from a Southern California ranch.
For the demo, Levin first flew a remote-controlled drone about a hundred feet into the air and left it there to hover. He then used a laptop to activate the Interceptor, flying it to a position about 20 feet below the first drone.
Levin granted the permission to attack using his laptop, and the Interceptor flew straight up into its target at 160 kilometers per hour (100 miles per hour) — sending both devices plummeting to the ground.
Persistence Pays Off
It’s hard to glean from Bloomberg’s story whether the Interceptor survived the attack or sacrificed itself, kamikaze-style, though Luckey noted on Twitter that the device “almost always survives.”
What is clear, however, is that while Levin authorized the attack, the drone executed it autonomously.
As the engineer explained to Bloomberg, Anduril’s device is able to identify and fly toward targets without any help — and if it doesn’t destroy an enemy drone with an initial hit, it doesn’t give up, autonomously attacking a second or third time until its target is dead.
READ MORE: Tech’s Most Controversial Startup Now Makes Drone-Killing Robots [Bloomberg]
More on anti-drone tech: Military Contractors Are Churning out New Anti-Drone Weapons