‍For a tech-savvy and curious creator, building a personal computer, robot, or drone can be a rewarding challenge. Prototypes come out of garage workshops and basement studios, enabling developers to use their skills and develop new technologies without regulation, rules, or limits. Building something using customized or curated hardware, enables the user to create a device that may not be detected or
traced the same way as a mass-produced, manufactured product.

‍DIY Drones Bring Style, Speed and Provide Solutions for Advanced Drone Operators

DIY drones are created through resources that came curated from different manufacturers and different areas around the world. Enterprises may want to customize a mass-produced drone to support a specific business operation. Videographers may attach a specialized camera to support their style. Meteorologists may use special rotors to withstand inclement weather. Drone racers may want super-lightweight materials to promote high-speed flights.

Data hackers may want to integrate high-end processing and detection programs, smugglers may want to secure dangerous payloads, and terrorists may not want to invest in expensive materials if they plan on a crash landing or explosion.

There are building block drones on the market for as low as $33. Add in a simple how-to guide, and any curious mind can learn to build and fly their unmanned vehicle. No matter the materials sourced, hardware used, or reasons for flying under the radar, DIY
and customized drones will be proactively detected via Dedrone’s multi-sensor
platform before it reaches protected infrastructure.

‍DIY Drones are No Match to DroneTracker’s Detection Capabilities

Dedrone deploys passive detection technologies, including RF/Wi-Fi, cameras and others such as radar and microphones. Each technology can stand alone and feed information to our machine-learning DroneTracker software to make a positive identification of a drone. However, the combination of these sensors and the data collected increases the range in which a drone can be detected, up to 1 mile away from a protected site.

DroneTracker detects DIY drone frequencies by listening on common frequency bands where drones operate. Advanced makers who are looking to fly secretly may operate a drone on a private or hidden band, outside of this common detection zone. Tech-savvy
hackers may also encrypt their data, making it even harder to decipher identifying characteristics. This is why multiple detection strategies must be integrated to create a complete detection program.

If RF/Wi-Fi sensors are unable to detect the frequency of the drone operator’s flight, other sensors will immediately compensate. When a camera is integrated into security
infrastructure, DroneTracker’s DroneDNA database will be able to differentiate
images and identify whether an aircraft is a bird, plane, or drone. Active
sensors, like radar, can also help feed information to DroneTracker to provide
warning of an approaching drone. As DroneTracker is a machine-learning
platform, using a proprietary DroneDNA database, any outlier drone and its
identifying characteristics will be fed into the software platform and build
from the new data, much like an anti-virus software.

Susan Friedberg

About the author

Susan is the Director of Communications at Dedrone and has researched, developed, and led the conversation on drones, counter-drone technology, and airspace security since 2016.

Susan Friedberg


Originally published Nov 15, 2017, updated Feb 27, 2021