The Danger Of Drone Assassins

Angela Merkel’s recent encounter with an UAV (seen above) was a bit of harmless political theater from Germany’s Pirate Party, but Sean Gallagher is worried:

While Merkel smirked off the drone in Dresden, even a small explosive charge or grenade aboard a similar drone would have been catastrophic—and defending against such attacks is difficult at best.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) researchers from TNO Defense Research, an organization in The Netherlands, recently showed the real risk of that sort of attack, demonstrating that terrorists and insurgents could effectively use current commercial and do-it-yourself drones as weapons in a number of scenarios, including one much like the Dresden event. … Because of their size, their low flying altitude, and their relatively low speed, mini-UAVs are particularly hard to detect—especially in an urban environment, the researchers found. Even if they are detected, identifying whether they’re a threat or not is still an issue, because it’s difficult to determine whether they’re armed or just carrying a camera.

And Gallagher notes that “just shooting down drones in a crowded urban environment could cause more damage than the drones themselves.”