Why do we need to detect drones in the air?
A few characteristics of modern commercial drones make them an aerial threat for facilities like airports, stadiums, oil and gas refineries and prisons. A drone flying close to a runway poses danger to airplanes during take off and landing. Drone can also be a threat to stadiums, prisons and oil & gas because of their ability to carry payloads bypassing ground security.
Therefore, Security teams need a way to detect drones in the air and be aware of what is flying in their airspace.
Is it possible to detect and track drones in the air?
There are various technologies and solutions that can help security teams track drones. Security teams can use these solutions to know the GPS location and address of the drone, the type of drone flying, it’s speed and altitude, and sometimes even the pilot’s GPS location. The most reliable drone detection solution is one that can adapt to each facility's needs by integrating various hardware sensors into one software interface.
What is drone detection?
Drone detection technology works to detect unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones as they are most commonly known. There are different technologies used to detect drone activity in the airspace, each technology varies in their capabilities with respect to drone size and detection range. Drones operating on RF communication can be tracked using RF sensors, while others that are GPS Pre-Programmed to a way point can be tracked using Radar detection. Visual detection technology like Pan, Tilt and Zoom (PTZ) Cameras can be used to get visuals on the detected drone, and confirm a drone threat.
Keep in mind that each type of technology offers its own advantages and limitations. Organizations seeking solutions to drone threats should be aware of the limitations of each type of technology. Some detection technologies are more suitable for particular environments than others. However by layering and using various technologies together, you can accurately detect and track most drones.
What are the most reliable technologies for drone detection?
Most drones use radio frequency (RF) spectrum to communicate with their operators. To keep the receiver and transmitted connected, they are paired together with specific RFID chips that keep other devices on the same frequency from overtaking the drone.
RF drone detection uses radio frequency (RF) sensors that passively listen and monitor 70 MHz to 6 GHz frequencies for transmissions of the communication link between the drone and the pilot(receiver) to determine the location of the drone and in some cases, the pilot's location.
High-resolution radars are specifically designed for drone detection and tracking. Radars continuously scan the sky looking for reflections and changes to detect movement and size. Reflected signals can be compared to a database for drone characterization. The stored signatures can also be used to eliminate objects that are not drone-like much like how radars are used to detect birds. This signal processing greatly improves detection performance and allows for fewer false positives.
3. Drone Detection using Visual Tracking
PTZ Cameras can be used in conjunction with other drone detection technology to create and relay a visual record of a drone incident. The drone detection software usually cues a PTZ camera with GPS location of the drone, so that the camera can Pan, Tilt and Zoom in the right area to capture a visual of the drone.
Due to factors including weather, or changes in season, visual detection is not an ideal first line of defence when detecting incoming drones, but it is a valuable tool for recording drone incidents for real-time and future review.
How do I know which drone detection technology is best for my facility?
This depends on a number of factors, which includes your requirements, budget, your security needs, and layout of the facility. RF sensors track most of the drone threats, since 70% of drones in the market communicate on the RF spectrum. RF sensors also cover a large detection area 1-10 miles, depending on sensor specifications, and are the most cost-effective sensors for drone detection.
Our Airspace Security experts recommend that you start with RF detection to get an idea of the drones flying in your area, identify vulnerable areas, and get real data on number of drone flights. Security teams can then base decisions like whether radar detection is needed, which areas need visual detection along with RF detection etc. on the insights gained from real drone flight data.
Airsight also provides a 30 day demo, where we install a RF sensor at your facility for 30 days and give you actionable intelligence on what is happening in your airspace. Schedule a call with us today, to learn more about our demo.
How many RF sensors, radars and cameras does my facility need to detect drones properly?
It depends on your facility, and your detection needs. One of the factors is the amount of RF interference caused because of the layout and the environment of your facility. If you are surrounded by tall buildings, they will block some RF signals and you might need multiple RF sensors to achieve the level of detection you need. If your facility is mostly an open field, one RF sensor might be enough to achieve the desired level of detection.
Also, your facility might have one or multiple RF blind spots, where you might need on Radar or Visual methods to achieve the desired level of detection. Our airspace security experts conduct a thorough walk-through and RF survey of your facility, and suggest the best RF sensor, Radar and Visual configurations to match your needs and budget.
What is the layered approach to drone detection?
No one type of detection technology can do it all and detect all drones. This can only be achieved when different technologies are used in conjunction with one another, and the data from the sensors integrated into a single software platform that makes it easy to detect drones.
The base is made of RF Sensors. If teams need a way to get a visual on the detected and tracked drones, you can layer RF detection with PTZ cameras that respond to the GPS coordinates passed to them by the RF sensor. If you find that there are still untracked flights that are not detected by the RF sensor, you can layer the RF and Visual sensors, with Radars installed in the most critical areas.
How can you benefit from drone detection?
Drone detection helps you:
- Identify drone and pilot activity
- Alert security team to the drone make, model, altitude, drone and pilot GPS location
- Improve reaction time by providing advanced warning and alerts
- Provide real-time monitoring of drone activity to allow actionable intervention
- Record and maintain data to use as evidence
What kind of organizations and facilities need to install drone detection?
We are seeing different types of organizations installing drone detection. Since drones can collide with planes taking off and landing, airports need drone detection to keep track of the drones around the runway. Since drones can carry payloads, organizations like Stadiums, Oil & Gas plants, critical infrastructure, and prisons also need detection technology.
Who provides drone detection technology?
Airsight provides you with everything you need to detect drones in the air. Our experts analyze your location, suggest best configurations, and set up each sensor at your location.
Our drone detection software platform called AirGuard, integrates all the data into one easy to use interface, and provides advanced features like Geofencing, Alerts, Whitelisting/Blacklisting, Evidence & Video Capture and more.
Schedule a call with our security experts and ask about our 30 day demo to help you get real data on the drones flying in your airspace.