Not everyone is a huge fan of drones, but short of shooting them out of the sky, there hasn't been an effective way to fire back at the robotic intruders. Boeing seems to have solved that problem; instead of using bullets to fight drones, the company is firing back with laser beams. A team of developers just unveiled its laser cannon specifically designed to target and destroy drones, Wired reports.
Boeing showed off its High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator system, or HEL MD, for media in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The cannon, which looks like a giant magnifying glass set into a swiveling security camera, fires a concentrated beam of photons. When aimed at full power for as little as two seconds, the beam is enough to set a UAV shell on fire. When used in the field, the cannon will set a small portion of the offending drone aflame, causing it to veer off course and crash.
Even better, the cannon fits into four suitcase-sized boxes and can be set up in minutes. It's controlled with a standard Xbox 360 controller and a laptop with corresponding targeting software. It's an effective, low-cost way to take down drones in sensitive areas.
The HEL MD's biggest letdown is that it's silent—no fun Star Wars "pew, pew" noise when it shoots a drone out of the sky. Let's hope that flaw is fixed by the time Boeing hands the cannon over to the military.