‘Anti-drone’ technology all the buzz

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Image: iStock | marekuliasz

The debate around how to safeguard against rogue drone operators has entered a new phase, with companies developing ‘anti-drone’ weapons to neutralise the threat mid-air.

The latest effort comes from Liteye Systems, which has developed a new counter-UAS system, or AUDS, that the company showcased at the Commercial Unmanned Aerial Expo in Las Vegas recently.

Combining electronic-scanning radar, electro-optical tracking and a directional RF inhibition with directional antennas, the AUDS can ‘detect, track and defeat UAVs engaged in hostile airborne surveillance and potentially malicious activity’ up to a mile away.

‘If I can see it, I can kill it,’ said Rick Sondag, executive vice-president of Liteye Systems, as reported by The Guardian.

The new technology comes after countless reports of recreational drones flying in areas where they shouldn’t, including airports, sport stadiums, and bushfires as well as over prisons and private property.

A drone even managed to crash its way onto the lawns of the Whitehouse sparking security concerns about the technology and the risk it posed. Despite this initial incident making global headlines, it didn’t deter another member of the public from flying his Parrot Bebop outside the Whitehouse a few months later.

But despite the much-publicised incidents, regulators often struggle to prosecute rule breakers due to the anonymous nature of the technology, with reports of illegal flying often lacking the sufficient evidence for prosecution.

It’s for this reason that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States recently signed an agreement to test technology that could detect radio frequencies, pinpointing the location of operators illegally flying near airports.

The FAA and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia have recently taken to social media to remind would-be rogue operators of the safety risk they can pose to other members of the public and emergency responders.

But no matter the level of public awareness, it seems there will always be people willing to forgo common sense and fly when they shouldn’t. This ineptitude, or as 3D Robotics chief executive Chris Anderson puts it ‘mass jackassery’, has given rise to the ‘anti-drone’ industry that is now set to flourish.

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