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back to article On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns

So no, there will not be an electric quadcopter delivery drone delivering your Cyber Monday packages in 2015: nor even in 2025, most likely, as even Jeff Bezos more or less openly admits if you look at what he actually said. Yes, there are homes to be found - more of them perhaps in United States than in other places - where …

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Anonymous Coward

Dear Article Author

No need to apologize. The vast number of Americans cannot shoot and are ignorant of their own weapons. The US military is full of people who adopt the point-and-spray method for taking down targets and run through a thirty round mag in two and a half seconds.

There's a reason their country scored twenty-eighth in the world in education.

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Re: Dear Article Author

"There's a reason their country scored twenty-eighth in the world in education."

The UK was 26th, US 36th

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Article Author

Actually, we're busy demonstrating that we're not that clever either.

If you dislike the drones coming near your place, order some goods for your neighbours, or to a known place. It's there they will have to get close to the ground to deliver the parcel, at which point even a normal handful of chains is enough to take the thing down. No need to get involved in long distance targeting and worrying about projectiles going astray - far too much work.

After you've caught a few, I reckon they will switch to standard van delivery. Sorted.

While I'm here, any more problems you want me to solve?

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Completely missed the target

Even if most can't shoot and wouldn't know a lock from a stock from a barrel at least some of us know what the whole point of the drone delivery story was but don't worry your AC head over it, I'll give you a hint. Consider exactly what he said on one of the most highly rated television shows, just after the showing of a very popular televised game which just happened to be played on the evening before a day that has come to be known in the U.S. as Cyber Monday and shortly after the start of the busiest shopping orgy of the year.

There's a season where the best press is free and Bezos sure knows a turkey shoot when he sees one sets one up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Article Author

You have failed to mention the PUNT GUN, yes Punt and not with a C.

This is a glorified appendage of a cannon attached to.... A Punt, not C*nt which can take down a whole flock of ducks not f*cks.

I understand that you were in the RN, bad careers advice. Having once had the misfortune of working with the Navy I spent a little time at HMS Cambridge, the gunnery school just outside of Plymouth (no longer there) watching some RN Gunner types trying to hit a stationary rock (Island) with a big gun.

It was painful to watch, Nelson would have turned in his grave.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Article Author

Most redneck yanks have an arsenal of weapons from which they can fill the air with lead.

A flock of ten rednecks with automatic military grade squirrel hunting rifles namely 10x M240 at approx 800 rounds per minute with a range of over 3kms, could place 8000 bits of lead a minute in the path of the drone.

Or the M2 which has a lower rate of fire but heavier bits of lead though it only has a range of around 2000m.

Light aircraft beware.

Sadly very little of the squirrel would be left to barbecue.

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Re: Dear Article Author

I guess he comes from either the US or the UK

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Re: AC @ 21:25

The M2 Browning has about twice the effective range of the M240, and rightly so.

I should know. I just looked it up on Wikipedia.

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Re: Dear Article Author

Dear AC...

I'd say that you have been watching too many movies and/or don't understand suppression fire.

(Scout Snipers 'One shot, One kill')

But more to the point...

If the 'gun toting home owner' is in the military and has access to experimental arm... glaze the target for range, then launch a proximity 20mm grenade or exploding round...

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Re: Dear Article Author

people who adopt the point-and-spray method for taking down targets

Not anymore, I believe. They've actually deleted the full-auto mode on the M16, leaving just the semi-auto and 3-round burst modes. And they've trained their soldiers accordingly, so that they're now more deadly with 3-round bursts than they used to be with full-auto (not hard, because full-auto just wasted bullets, as you noted.)

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Re: Dear Article Author

Can I get me one of these on eBay ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goalkeeper_CIWS

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N2
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Re: Dear Article Author

@ "Not any more, I believe. They've actually deleted the full-auto mode on the M16, leaving just the semi-auto and 3-round burst modes. And they've trained their soldiers accordingly, so that they're now more deadly with 3-round bursts than they used to be with full-auto (not hard, because full-auto just wasted bullets, as you noted.)"

Agreed, the M16 is a nice weapon. In a similar move, years ago they shortened the barrel of the Bren gun to give it more spread because you killed them three or four times with the long barrel version.

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Coat

Re: Dear Article Author

@Ian Michael Gumby

"glaze the target for range"

I fail to see how coating the target in sugar helps to establish range.

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Re: AC @ 21:25

Look it up again. Now it's got three times the effective range!

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Hagman could do it any day

An army marksman could do it in single shot mode. Drone would be low, slow, large.

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Re: Dear Article Author

<blockquote>. It's there they will have to get close to the ground to deliver the parcel, at which point even a normal handful of chains is enough to take the thing down.</blockquote>

We're talking about a country where you can get away with shooting a teenager for the crime of wearing a hoodie while black, and aggravated walking through your neighbourhood.

You want to stand close to your neighbour's yard and shoot across their property to hit a parcel delivery vehicle? You go right ahead, son, but I don't much fancy your chances.

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Re: Dear Article Author

The military generally take a rather dim view of you taking their toys home to play with.

Otherwise lots more GIs would do the school run in these.

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Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

I'm not advocating the shooting down of drones, but as a fun exercise let's give thought to what could take a delivery drone out of the sky. Think of it as a mini SPB project.

First idea: Another drone. The offensive drone zeroes in on the target Amazon drone by noise, visual or other electromagnetic signature. Since the offensive drone doesn't have to travel as far as the Amazon drone, it can travel faster, or be made sturdier. It's 'weapons systems' could be in the form of dental-floss like filaments to disable the Amazon drone's rotors, or perhaps the offensive drones rotors could act as blades.

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

The new Robot Wars - in glorious 3D !

(seriously beeb, have a think about it)

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

I wonder if one of those TrackingPoint smart rifles would work on drones? The blurbs talk about hitting a moving target at 1000 yards, but I think they had things like deer in mind rather than drones. I imagine the software could be adapted if they wanted to do such a thing.

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Barrage balloons?

A flock of trained attack Ravens?

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

A couple of rockets dragging a very light net up in front of the drone. Or possibly use firework mortars?

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Big Brother

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Maybe 'rescue' an 88mm German anti-tank/anti-aircraft gun from a museum, along with some flak rounds, see if you can take the drone down that way... Of course, the FBI/ATF may have something to say about that.

Alternatively, wait for a heavy rainshower to soak the cardboard packaging, such that it is now too heavy for the drone to fly at a safe altitude, and have at it with the duck hunting guns.

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

"Think of it as a mini SPB project....First idea: Another drone."

This is an opportunity to let my inner redneck loose!

Second idea: AIrbust shot gun shells filled with aluminium pellets (lower density metal to reduce the lethality beyond the kill sphere, he suggests hopefully).

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Third idea: Cheap remote control aircraft. Just ram the drone, and accept the loss of the toy plane. Or could be even more fun trying to make the R/C aircraft tough enough to keep flying after the collision, like a reuseable airborne battering ram.

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Boffin

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Trebuchet firing a net made from wire, with perimeter weighted with something heavy and with small cross-section. Would need some sort of guide to impart spin as it was launched.

Also, the whole assembly would need mounting on a turntable.

Or, alternatively, use this new pulse weapon. This actually looks perfect for the task in hand, assuming a little more range could be squeezed out.

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Windows

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Ahem, "dental-floss like filaments'

<youth of today>does nobody remember "string"?</youth of today> Some people need a clew.

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

I have wildly optimistic visions of someone strapping heli blades and an automatic lid to a dustbin and swallowing the Amazon drone in flight, like a low budget re-enactment of You Only Live Twice.

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Weeeeeell, only puny guns. How about Goalkeeper CIWS? Or perhaps Shilka if we're on a budget.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Hmm, a fairly focused jammer could work, provided the own onboard services are kept online. The clever ones rely on GPS for flying home, so I suspect there may be an issue if you zap its ability to know where it is (also prevents any recovery effort). After that, reeling off some dental floss or small chains will take out the device. Or a weighted net.

And it MUST carry some sort of pirate flag. This has to be done in style.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Barrage balloons?

Hmm, a balloon with lighter fluid could make a mess. Talk about going down in flames..

Alternatively, a balloon with acetone. Dissolves most ABS ..

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Labradors and strategically planted trampolines.

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

@Jan 0

Haha, I do know what string is, and bailer-twine too! Dental floss is strong and light, and also cheap compared to fishing line. If you've ever used a mini RC helicopter to take down out-of-reach cobwebs in an old cottage, you'll know how string spider silk is, too (but it doesn't have the bulk to quickly disable the chopper)

@Ledswinger,

The plane could go faster, but the target drone might be more agile. Let us not disagree, let us test!

@Farting Hippo

I like it! Perhaps a bolas might also do the trick if we can't sort out the spinning net mechnism

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

A party popper

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Devil

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

How about fighting kites?

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

"Trebuchet firing a net made from wire, with perimeter weighted with something heavy and with small cross-section"

Human heads? Outside of Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan you might have to reuse them, rather than have fresh for each shot.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

It is not that difficult to put together a bit of kit that can follow a target moving through the air especially if it is something with a nice RADAR reflection. Add another bit of kit that sends a projectile and bang, the drone is an 'ex drone'.

Most of this stuff can be picked up Military surplus in the US without too many awkward questions being asked by the powers that be.

Here? you have to make a lot more yourself.

Just don't go aiming it at anything BIG or official. No Laser Target aquisition either as that will get you a spell at HMP.

It is all an awful lot easier than it was <redacted> years ago when I looked into this sort of thing as a student.

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

AC wrote:

"The clever ones rely on GPS for flying home, so I suspect there may be an issue if you zap its ability to know where it is"

Is it not possible to flood a GPS receiver so it thinks its moving even though its not? For example if the drone is flying north then would it be possible to bombard it with a signal that keeps changing as if the drone is flying north, even though its actually now stationary? Monitor it enough for course corrections to keep it (relatively) in one spot and eventually it should land, thinking its reached its destination.

Thats how I'd theoretically do it, nowhere near where I lived of course, if I was so inclined.

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Trollface

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

It's like I'm really reading Wile E. Coyote's list of ideas, soon to be implemented using trusty ACME wares.

ACME - Arming Coyotes since the Mid-Eighties!

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

"Or could be even more fun trying to make the R/C aircraft tough enough to keep flying after the collision"

No need to make it tougher, just add a ram made out of sacrificial material such as cardboard or polystyrene, which should be tough enough to jam rotor blades, but cheap and easy to replace.

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Devil

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

A compressed air cannon, like those used for preventively causing avalanches in the Alps, shooting a big cartridge including a weighed net, similar to the ones proposed in former comments, in a parabolic trajectory , plus ranging and pointing hardware, plus software for calculating the shot. If you wait a few years, you'll see many similar devices in the market, as there is a definite need for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A compressed air cannon ... ... ... a weighed net,

Would those work against mobile phone users too?

(by the way, teacher says, "You mean weighted.")

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WTF?

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Low budget re-enactment....splutter! Any lower budget and the actors would be paying to take part.

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Standing on a Segway flying drone...

That's the way to do it - get up there yourself, give chase, and pot the bugger from astern. Although technically this may fall outside the definition of "drone".

Also there's the risk of being shot oneself by another drone hunter, preferably by mistake.

Now, where's my flying Segway? ...oh, -not- a first... no surprise, I suppose.

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Trouble is, most of these ideas would cause some serious damage to the Amazon, interfering with part 2 of my plan, which is: How much could you get for a functioning Amazon delivery drone on FleaBay?

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Some dental floss IS fishing line. And . . . have you ever actually compared the cost of a reel of fishing line to a packet of dental floss?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

I better dust off the old Peter Powell stunt kite...

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Make sure it flies over water, and let the shark mounted lasers do their stuff......

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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Just press the bellpush on my Siemens cordless doorbell. Bloody thing hunts across the radiowaves so badly that all my neighbours doorbells ring before mine, so jamming the drones signal would be child's play.

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Mushroom

Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

How about some form of GPS jammer or spoofer? Most of these sort of drones are likely to be quite dependent on GPS.

Otherwise, live somewhere high up and windy. That'll make it tricky for them nasty little quad-copter courier drones.

Failing that, nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

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