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Drone technology is the future: their threat and how to combat negative use

Last updated on

June 12, 2018


    One of the greatest advances of recent times is drone technology. It has undoubtedly developed and on the rise at a rapid rate.

    Essentially they are tiny flying computers with the ability to record, process, stream and collate information. They can listen to audio data, and be controlled from a number of miles away.

    That modern drone technology, is now something which we live side by side with on a daily basis. It affects every aspect of our lives. There is no doubt that drones are an ingenious technology. They are very much a part of our future, and they are here to stay for the long term.

    As with every technological advance, however, there are also a number of downsides to the technology of drones. Drone technology can pose very real threats. They can occur physically; with reports of collisions and accidents becoming more and more prevalent. There are also issues surrounding privacy, data protection. As well as the handling and distribution of potentially sensitive or damaging information and data.

    The fact is, drones can be concealed in tiny hardware. They can also be inserted into any situation virtually unnoticed. This is something which has the potential to be explored by those with nefarious intentions and desires.

    DJI Z30 and DJI Matrice

    Physical risks

    First and foremost is the fact that drones are physical objects, flying unaided and controlled remotely. Although there are a number of very small examples available, drones do come in all shapes and sizes. This makes the risk of them colliding with other objects a very real one. They often travel at very high speeds, making the risk of a collision greater. The impact can be devastating, particularly if they hit birds or other wildlife.

    Another risk is that of aircraft: a drone simply striking the wing of an aircraft is unlikely to do much damage. Should one get sucked into the engine, however, there could be a much more serious problem. Whilst it is true that this situation often occurs with birds, drones are formed of complex electrical and metal components. They could have an adverse reaction to the complicated aspects of plane engines.

    A drone hitting the windscreen of an aircraft is also an issue, and one which could have serious repercussions. Airlines and governments are concerned by this risk. They have begun taking a number of steps to prevent it from occurring. This includes high profile prosecutions of those offenders who fly drones close to aircrafts. It also includes the implementation of drone detection systems to provide ample warning and the chance to react.

    Other risks

    As well as physical threats, there are a number of risks in regard to data and privacy laws which surround drones. The fact that they are being made smaller and more discreet means that there is greater risk of them accessing restricted areas. These areas can potentially contain sensitive data which needs to remain within its secure location.

    The ease with which drones can access restricted spaces is also an issue, as there is a risk of violating privacy laws. Drones are now more technologically advanced than ever. They have the ability to record audio and visual, take and send high quality images. They can live stream events and incidents, as well as accessing areas which are restricted or off limits for security reasons.

    Those images and recordings could be used by disingenuous agents for criminal activity. Alternatively, by rivals and competitions in business to get ahead of the game and sabotage policies, products and ideas.

    How to combat this

    The good news, however, is that awareness of such issues is now being raised. A number of strategies and solutions have begun to be set into action. The introduction of ‘no drone zones’ aims to combat the risk of drones in airspace. In particular, aiming areas that prohibit drone use .

    Aviation laws are also requiring regulations and monitoring of drones in airspace to reduce accidents and issues. In addition, the development of drone tracking systems allow businesses and individuals to be alerted when a drone is approaching or behaving suspiciously in the vicinity. Allowing for time for action.

    Drone detection technology is a growing business in this area, and companies such as Aeroscope are developing groundbreaking technology which can intercept drones before they reach their target, providing warnings and alerts to businesses and individuals.

    Aeroscope allows operators to tract data from DJI aircraft in surrounding airspace of up to 20km (12.5 miles). It effectively works as a drone license plate detection system, able to provide data to airport security teams to be able to quickly and effectively protect against drone intrusion.

    When used correctly, drones can be a huge asset to modern society. The issue is when these benefits are taken advantage of and if they are used with more negative intentions. Thankfully, there are steps which can be taken to ensure safety, and allow drones to be used to their best advantage.

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