How (not) to protect yourself

Simultaneously with alleviating the barriers regulating recreational and commercial drone usage, the need for protection against their misuse arises. We, as the only company in Slovakia that provides complex protection against drone threats, are constantly observing these trends. In this article, we bring to your attention the summary of those most interesting.

Dubai airport – Drone Hunter

In the last article you had a chance to dive into the drone-related issues that bothers airfields across the globe, even the one in Prague. During the last year however, the busiest airport in the world in Dubai must have shut its gates 3 times due to UAV threat. The last shutdown lasted for long 90 minutes while each of these shutdown costs the airport approximately 1 million dollars per minute.

To prevent similar incidents in the future, the airfield decided to deploy its own unmanned aircraft, the so-called Drone Hunter. When the intruder enters the secured airspace, this special airplane follows the drone using thermal and infrared sensors to its pilot and then send its location to the Dubai police.

However, this solution has many obvious flaws. Besides one already intruding drone, the airspace security must count with another flying object and more importantly, Drone Hunter pilot can be less skilled than the trespassing one. Threat detection is based on visual observing which is less accurate and reliable in comparison with radiofrequency scanning and in case of multiple intruders, one Drone Hunter is simply not enough. The solution also lacks active countermeasures that can actually neutralize the threat and prevent collision with an airplane.

AirMap – Geofencing

Geofencing outlines prohibited areas for drones. In real life situation when the drone is about to enter a geofenced area, it stops at the border of the “fence” and starts to hover in the air. American startup AirMap established a cooperation with two biggest UAV manufactures – DJI and 3D Robotics and is constantly adding new and new perimeters to its no fly zone database. Manufacturers implement these protocols to the software updates for their devices in pursuance of preventing their drones to enter the geofenced locations.

Unfortunately, there are numerous online tutorials how to bypass or override geofencing and enter the secured areas. Moreover, not all commercial UAV manufacturers use geofencing in their devices.

Dutch police force – Eagles countering drones

Probably the most bizarre countermeasure against drone threats comes from Netherlands. In cooperation with an eagle training company Guard From Above, the local police uses birds of prey to intercept illegal unmanned aircraft vehicles. However, there has been many complaints from animal cruelty organizations arguing that the drone propellers can harm these animals. Besides that, maintaining such flying squad altogether with feeding and training them is costly and inefficient.

None of the abovementioned solutions provide complex protection against drones with early detection, analysis, evaluation and action plan.