Deterring drones from ballparks and botanical gardens from

…with a new $750,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation in hand, Duke Engineering professor Mary “Missy” Cummings is looking to develop passive, inexpensive solutions for deterring unwanted drone activity.

“We actually got the idea while trying to use drones to monitor elephants in African sanctuaries,” said Cummings, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory.

“We discovered that the noise the drones made really bothered the elephants, so we thought that maybe we could leverage that same sound signature to detect them,” she said. “And if we could detect them, maybe we could then deter them from being in areas they’re not supposed to be.