Forget the modern nuclear crisis. Mutually assured destruction ensures that we will all have a lot less to care about in the event of a major attack. More critical—at least to many businesses—is the drone intelligence war currently playing out.
Drones, as you may know, have grown incredibly popular as of late, even in the consumer sector. From toy drones for kids to high-grade drones for hobbyists and professionals, there’s something for everyone readily available. Seriously, walk into your nearest JCPenney, Wal-Mart or even Staples, and you’ll find a section of remote-controlled drones — aerial or otherwise.
The emergence of such devices is causing a considerable fuss in many industries. In aviation, for example, pilots and flight controllers need to worry about drones encroaching upon official airspace. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies need to worry about them flying onto unauthorized properties. One man even crashed his Phantom FC40 drone on the White House grounds.
What makes them particularly threatening is that many include high-resolution or even gimballed video cameras for snapping photos and video of their surroundings. Resourceful parties could use such drones to capture footage and images of protected content.
That explains why companies like Apple, NASCAR and several prominent airports are investing in and deploying anti-drone technologies.
What Are Anti-Drone or Counter-Drone Technologies?
Commercially available drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have created the need for a way to protect against their many features. Due to their nature, they can also be used for nefarious deeds outside of unauthorized surveillance. For example, someone could strap explosives to a UAV and carry out horrific acts of violence.
As a result, a variety of systems and measures have been developed to prevent such devices from wreaking havoc or trespassing into the airspace above protected grounds.
One of the most basic forms of anti-drone technology is a type of semi-weapon designed to shoot them out of the sky. Lockheed Martin has developed a futuristic laser to take drones out of the air in the military and national defense settings.
Other measures include radio frequency or RF jamming devices, trained birds—yes birds—and unique signal jammers like DroneShield’s DroneGun that force a device to land. The DroneGun, by the way, is being used to protect NASCAR events at various speedways across the country. They both want to prevent unscrupulous parties from filming and live-streaming events using drones and disrupting the races taking place.
Who’s Using Anti-Drone Tech?
We already talked about NASCAR using the technology at their events, but various other companies are doing so as well.
Apple, for example, has purportedly invested in drone-sensing technologies to help prevent would-be spies at their new headquarters. It’s understandable that drone-flyers want to visit the innovative campus, which is currently under development. But Apple has had enough of people peeping on their work.
One drone enthusiast says that Apple security has located him incredibly quickly every time he’s sent his drone into the air. He thinks the company is using tech like that offered by Dedrone, which uses a combination of RF, Wi-Fi scanners, microphones and cameras to locate nearby objects.
One pilot’s drone even dropped unexpectedly out of the sky—with no signs of hardware failure—during a recent flight. It’s possible Apple is also making use of drone-grounding and jamming technologies as well.
Airports across the globe are also installing or deploying anti-drone technologies to prevent enthusiasts and would-be pilots from encroaching on protected airspace. The Charles de Gaulle airport in the UK employed the Gamekeeper drone detection radar from Aveillant.
The FAA is also planning to roll out anti-drone ray guns in U.S. airports over the coming year. The system is called Anti-UAV Defence System or AUDS. It’s designed to prevent drones from entering restricted airspace to protect flights, passengers and airport properties.
As you can see, the drone intelligence war is in full force currently. Many companies, businesses, and agencies are working to protect the skies above our heads from the dastardly use of remote, unmanned aerial vehicles.
It’s kind of like a tech-powered game of cat-and-mouse. The organizations deploying anti-drone technologies will continue to improve and develop new solutions. Drone enthusiasts and owners will in turn likely outfit their devices to avoid such systems.
At the very least, it will be interesting to see how everything plays out.
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