There was a period of time where drones were the preserve of the few. Government organisations, military operations, and tech-obsessed enthusiasts who had no real idea of the power of the objects in their control. In recent years, however, drone technology has expanded into the everyday market. It is regularly used for everything from aerial photography to delivering your Amazon package.
It’s accessible to consumers at all levels and incomes. There are no required clearance levels or security passes. The range of drones available means that there is something to suit every need. In addition, technology has advanced to the point where drones are now capable of capturing high quality, detailed photographs, video and even audio. This data can then be instantly shared worldwide. So why does this make drone detection systems important for public safety?
What are the threats and concerns?
Whilst there are a number of positive aspects to this expansion, one key area which has raised concerns is that of privacy and security. This is an issue particularly prevalent at any event where a large crowd will be gathered. These include concerts, sports matches, lectures or conferences.
The advanced technology available with drone systems means that it is easy to record video or take photos of the events taking place, possibly posing a risk of copyright or theft of intellectual property. Those who have no right of access can easily access a paid event, and distribute the information as they like; estimates show that illegal downloads have already cost the music industry $12.5 billion, a figure which could see an increase as drones become more popular and accessible.
An additional concern is the risk of drones being used to bring weapons into a busy and crowded arena. We already know that they are able to follow GPS instructions and transport goods across a number of miles. This, with no requirement for the sender to be physically present. This means that there is an increasing risk that someone could use a drone to import nefarious objects into an event, such as explosives or weapons.
Distraction is another risk; performers or participants could be confused by an unexpected object in the air, and this could lead to them becoming disoriented or distracted, and risk injury to themselves, other players or participants or audience members. There have also been – thankfully rare – reports of drones causing injury or damage when they have crashed into objects or people.
What can we do to decrease the threat?
The good news is that as fast as drone technology has been increasing, so too has drone detection and mitigation technology. Drone detection systems allow security staff to be alerted when a drone is entering a certain radius.
Technology such as that created by DJI (AeroScope) means that a drone can be traced from the moment of its launch. It can then also be tracked and monitored in real time. Using the signal between the drone and its remote controller, the drone can be constantly monitored to follow its location, activity and other crucial data.
During a flight, important information can be gathered. This includes the altitude, speed, the location of take-off, the direction the drone is heading in. Also, the location of the operator, the model and serial number, and current location.
As an added bonus, the pilot can be contacted via the email address. This is a mandatory part of drone registration. In short: this system can be used to intercept and monitor drones prior to an event occurring. This makes it an extremely useful and valuable piece of kit.
How does this technology benefit security at a public event?
This technology can prove a massive benefit to any large public gathering or crowd. It can be crucial not only in preventing unauthorised distribution of data but also potentially playing a part in ensuring public safety. Potentially, it can save lives.
Effective drone detection and drone mitigation systems give security personnel a heads up in these situations. It alerts them to the fact that there is an unauthorised drone entering the premises. This gives them a valuable tool: time.
They will have the ability to check out the drone and intercept or cut it off where required. This technology has the added advantage of going one step further. It is possible to make contact with the drone owner or pilot. You can also collect information which can be useful to law enforcement agencies, and prevent repeat offenders.
Drone technology has a number of benefits. As with any technology, however, it must be ensured that measures are put in place to prevent misuse. Drone detection technology allows genuine users to continue operating in a safe environment.
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