Collaborating Authors

Rogue Drone Pilots Face A New Foe: Deep Learning AI (Communications of the ACM)


Rogue Drone Pilots Face A New Foe: Deep Learning AI In the wake of airspace-invading drones causing the precautionary shutdowns of three major airports--London's Gatwick in December and Heathrow in early January, along with Newark Liberty International, NJ last week--aviation authorities the world over are now considering the acquisition of commercial drone detection, tracking, and capture systems, in a bid to keep airliners and passengers safe. However, they could be jumping the gun. Experts are warning that today's counter-drone systems are no cure-all, as they cannot defend against some types of criminal drone threat--especially the most determined airspace saboteurs using home-built, customized drones that may not respond to conventional countermeasures. However, a number of ingenious ideas are now being investigated to shore up some of the gaps in functionality, and some of them are even based on the technology of the moment: deep learning. Aviation safety authorities worry about drones because they can penetrate cockpit windscreens, injuring the pilots, or risk starting inflight fires by breaching the fuel tanks in aircraft wings, or causing sudden engine failure during a critical part of flight like takeoff or landing, perhaps leading to a crash.

BlackBerry partners with Dedrone on counter-drone technology


BlackBerry on Wednesday announced it's partnering with the airspace security firm Dedrone to deliver counter-drone technology. Dedrone will be integrating BlackBerry's AtHoc crisis communications software into its products to enable real-time alerts when a malicious or unauthorized drone is detected in a customer's airspace. The new integration will allow customers to create automated, highly targeted alerts based on criteria such as flight zones, drone behavior or user groups. "When an unauthorized drone enters restricted airspace, time is of the essence," Dedrone President and Chief Business Officer Aaditya Devarakonda said in a statement. "The more effectively the on-site personnel can respond, the better their chances of countering whatever the drone is there to do." Dedrone, founded in 2014, works with a range of public and private sector customers, includig the US military, allied and coalition forces, correctional facilities, airports and utilities.

US Air Force buys counter-drone tech to battle ISIS


Drone Guard can detect, identify and jam small USAVs using 3D radar and electro-optical sensors. "The jamming disrupts the drone's flight and either cause it to return to its point-of-origin or to shut down and make a crash landing," according to the AIA's press release. Nice shot of the improvised release mechanism ISIL is using to drop grenades from commercial off the shelf UAVs Recent images out of Iraq show that ISIS has used off-the-shelf drones from DJI and others not just for surveillance, but also bombing and one-time "suicide" explosive missions. According to Kurdish media outlet Rudaw, drones have used explosives and bombs to kills civilians and damage equipment.

Startups using birds of prey, anti-drone guns to take out straying unmanned aerial vehicles

The Japan Times

SINGAPORE – A boom in consumer drone sales has spawned a counter-industry of startups aiming to stop drones flying where they shouldn't, by disabling them or knocking them out of the sky. Dozens of startup firms are developing techniques -- from deploying birds of prey to firing gas through a bazooka -- to take on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are being used to smuggle drugs, drop bombs, spy on enemy lines or buzz public spaces. The arms race is fed in part by the slow pace of government regulation for drones. In Australia, for example, different agencies regulate drones and counter-drone technologies. "There are potential privacy issues in operating remotely piloted aircraft, but the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's role is restricted to safety.

The Drone Center's Weekly Roundup: 2/20/17


Telecommunications firm Verizon has acquired Skyward, a drone operations management company. Skyward develops software for drone operators to manage flight tracking and logging, maintenance scheduling, and contract management. The drone startup will join Verizon's Internet of Things portfolio. Kenya's government has implemented regulations for commercial drone use. The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority will begin allowing businesses to import and use drones for a range of operations.