In February 2014 we warned of the impending urban drone wars:
The police department after dealing with this incident is forced to develop a policy which entails the deployment of drones which can’t fire weapons but are capable of interfering with other drones by knocking into them. After all, few municipalities will be like this one in Texas which is OK arming its drones. I predict most police departments will be concerned about lawsuits resulting from drones killing someone inadvertently.Within a few months of this piece being written, a terrorist in Bridgeport, CT - a 10 minute drive from TMC HQ in Trumbull planned on bombing a federal building and was thankfully thwarted.
Criminals will soon realize a single flying gadget won’t help them so much and will be drawn into a drone arms race requiring each side to ramp up their drone numbers in order to win any encounter.
Moreover, once criminals discover the drone is a near-perfect murder weapon, they will start to invest in these devices and subsequently pull off murders without getting caught. Once again, police will have to counter with more drones which are constantly surveilling the air.
Finally, many of the drone-based murders will likely take place as night as these devices have night-vision and humans do not.
Gang and mob warfare will be taken to the next level as drone hits on one group will be retaliated with counter drone attacks and we’ll potentially see drone wars in the streets between sparring groups.
This future which may seem farfetched - is not, as it is possible to develop drones with virtually all of these capabilities today. As battery and drone technology gets better, I am 100% certain virtually all of these scenarios will take place around the world.
In 2015, the drone wars hit the White House and thankfully no one was hurt. We've also detailed how drones can threaten our industrial systems and how lasers are one way to take them out.
Now the reality has hit home as ISIS is using' drones as attack weapons fairly regularly. According to the Washington post:
The incident was among dozens in recent weeks in a rapidly accelerating campaign of armed drone strikes by the Islamic State in northern Iraq. The terrorist group last month formally announced the establishment of a new “Unmanned Aircraft of the Mujahideen” unit, a fleet of modified drones equipped with bombs, and claimed that its drones had killed or wounded 39 Iraqi soldiers in a single week.
“A new source of horror for the apostates!” the group’s official al-Naba newsletter declared.
Terrorists now know the incredible power they have to easily attack from the air. In other words - protecting an open-air stadium has become near-impossible by just using back checks and metal detectors as the terrorist can just fly their payload up and over. Flying vehicles are now easily attacked - as are any moving vehicle for that matter which is near the drone's path.
Remember the airplane that landed in the Hudson River - it was geese that took it down.
U.S. Special Operations Forces members inspect a drone used by Islamic State militants to drop explosives on Iraqi forces, in Mosul on Jan. 25. (Muhammad Hamed/Reuters). Source: Washington Post
What is the realistic defense against drone attacks in a free and open society? There really isn't one which is as effective as current measures are to stop traditional attacks. Drones represent a new attack vector but more importantly, they allow malicious persons to utilize an inexpensive and easy to assemble device to attack their targets with a very high level anonymity.
It will indeed become an increasingly scary world to live in... The downside to technological progress. We just have to hope the good guys are smarter than the bad guys. If we think ahead - we will need an army of good drones protecting our high-value targets at all times. These drones will seek and attack the "bad" drones which approach.