As drone technology continues to advance and improve, the possibilities for use expand and become more creative. According to Goldman Sachs, the drone technology industry as a whole stands to be a $100 billion opportunity by 2020. As with any technology, consumers will find ways to use it to solve problems, but also find ways to use it for unintended or malicious purposes.
The airspace security industry is growing rapidly, and laws involving the safe integration of drones to international airspace are slow to catch up. As more drone incidents and airspace intrusions are occurring, organizations protecting high-risk and high-value infrastructure must be proactive and protect their airspace from drone threats.
It is important now, more than ever, to understand and assess lower airspace activity and gain situational awareness on drones entering critical airspace. A combination of hardware and software can be used to identify and classify drones and determine the location of the drone and pilot.Depending on the types of hardware and software, security personnel should be able to identify the drone manufacturer, model, time and length of drone activity.
Before pursuing a counterdrone program for your organization, it’s important to ask a few questions, which include:
- What are your current security needs? Drones are capable of carrying payloads of any kind, up to hundreds of pounds. Cameras can be used for espionage, and payloads can drop weapons, drugs, or other sensitive materials. Drones are also laptops in the sky and can be used by sophisticated hackers to conduct espionage and compromise data centers and IT networks.
- Are there unauthorized drones in your airspace? Situational awareness is difficult to assess without technology. Drones move quickly and can be hard to detect with the naked eye. A dedicated security officer may have limited resources, including visual range, line of sight distractions, such as inclement weather, and even with the best attention span, can easily miss a fast-moving, discrete drone.
- Does your organization already have a drone program? Drones are coming to work across a variety of industries for surveillance, inspection, delivery, and entertainment. It’s important to differentiate between an authorized drone and unauthorized drone so that your operations remain intact and existing drone programs operate safely.
- What are your goals? You may want to catch contraband deliveries, locate snooping trespassers, protect intellectual property, or collect data on your airspace activity to ensure your skies are clear during certain operations. Define what success means for an airspace security system. Some examples could include:
- Increase the rate of locating trespassers and apprehending spies
- Locate vulnerabilities on your property to protect against espionage or interruptions
- Strategically advance perimeter security programs
- Capture drone contraband deliveries before they reach an intended recipient
From here, a foundation of information is established to help determine what sorts of technology you may need, and how a security technology provider can best arm you with tools to solve your perimeter security issues.
Drones are here to stay and will grow in both numbers and applications for use. Technology can help identify where and when they fly, and how they can impact our safety. Counterdrone technology is critical to help provide warning of approaching, unauthorized drones, and identify or apprehend the pilot.