Drone protagonation

By UDTech
On 5 Apr., 2017

An Article about drone usage in the world.

Drone protagonation

Few years ago the unmanned aerial vehicles could be afforded only by the countries with the huge military budget. Millions of dollars were donated into prototypes design, and only the best ones were put into the production. Mostly, the UAVs were used for Intelligence Services or as unmanned impact guns. The first UAVs were huge, as well as their maintenance cost. Nowadays, the drones can be afforded almost by everyone. The price for the drone starts from 20$ and the carrying capacity can be up to 20 kg. Such accessibility made the drones mass product that led to the unexpected results. Let's check the latest news about the accidents with the drones.

Air accident of 4th August 2016.

A Lufthansa Airbus A321-200, registration D-AIRY performing flight LH-116 from Frankfurt/Main to Munich with 108 passengers and 6 crew, was on final approach to Munich's runway 08L. The crew noticed a quadrocopter that was flying at the same height as the aircraft (10 m/33 ft) near right hand wing tip. The aircraft continued for a safe landing on runway 08L.

The police is seeking the quadrocopter itself and its owner.

National incident of 26th January 2015

The quadrocopter crashed or performed emergency landing nearby the White House. A security service didn't notice it and got it in the neck.

ISIS creates a growing threat to US and Iraq by deploying small commercial drones armed with improvised explosive devices or spying cameras. United States Department of Defense received additional funds for drone's detection and counteraction. Link.

A big number of countries intend to provide state control for drones. Check the article.

Utah authorities are the first in the nation to be allowed to disable and crash drones for flying too close to wildfires. Quite interesting article. $275000 fine or 3 years in prison is the penalty for violating the flying rules.

Liverpool vs Huddersfield play halted in the 61st minute after spotting the flying drone above the field. The pilot was identified and arrested. Check the news page.

Civil and corporate drones can be hijacked by hackers or terrorists. Article.

Drones to work for hackers. Check the blog.

Unauthorized drones flew above stadium during Rio opening ceremony. One drone was apprehended. News link.

Drone delivers banned items into England's prison. Security camera's video.

Drone was involved in a near-miss with a passenger plane. Public resents. The number of incidents reported to the police involving drones in 2015 is 425. In 2016 expected approximately 600 incidents.

An Air New Zealand flight coming into Queenstown Airport with 150 passengers on board, had to divert after the drone was spotted by the control tower. The operator is wanted by police.

Hacking wireless printer at the 30th floor with the drone. The article.

Narco-drones work for Mexican cartels. Here's a little article.

After reading these articles everyone clearly understands the global problems of the drones usage. If there's a huge drones market appeared - appropriate regulation should be introduced as well.


Manufacturers review

All these flying devices that are available for any citizen, and criminals equally, make the Government create regulatory rules in such a rapidly developing field.

The laws are enacted, the registration is provided, the flying zones are introduced. However, some people understood what this field will require in future and started developing drones detection, identification and interception systems.

Let's take a look at the devices that are available in the moment. We won't be taking into consideration military devices. We will discuss only private devices.

The whole anti-drone sphere can be divided into 2 groups:

1. Detection and optic/radio counteraction

2. Physical counteraction


Detection and optic/radio counteraction

You might have heard in the news or in the social media about such a device as – Battelle DroneDefender.

A simple solution for channels of communication and GPS suppression.

The device look itself as a portable gun from SCI movies, equipped with antennas instead of a barrel. Yagi antenna is directing all its internal jammer power to the drone.

90% of all drones use ISM 2,4 GHz channel for the remote control. If this channel is disrupted – the remote control won't be possible. If the drone has the autopilot – it should fly back to the start point using GPS. That's when the second antenna comes into action (placed under the first one) and disrupts GPS channel.Nevertheless, GPS channel disruption – is a Federal crime, that's why this device isn't sold in the retail. However, it can be used by the Government and its special divisions. But we can create such device ourselves. ISM channel is pretty easy to disrupt, but there might be some problems with GPS. Navigation satellite antenna has a high directivity in the upper hemisphere, however it works weak laterally. What should be the power of jammers on the band of 1.2 - 1.5 GHz to disrupt this channel and what's the maximum band of the jamming frequencies? Considering our calculations, the maximum GPS signal suppression range – is 200 meters.

The possibility to suppress LRS with frequencies 400-460 MHz isn't mentioned. In my opinion, the drones won't be using such systems and the planes won't be affected by such systems, since the planes have way higher speed than the drones.


Security system by Selex ES Inc. Stationary, modular, multi-functional - FALCON SHIELD COUNTER-UAV SYSTEM.

The system includes a means of radio intelligence - centimeter band radar, optical channels - remote cameras located around the perimeter and vulnerable places, jamming station and command post. The complex is designed to protect against UAV terrorists attacks, preventing reconnoitering of financial, technological secrets of industrial and technological objects.It sounds very serious, however there are no information available about the real efficiency of this device. Anyway, you may check the video about this device.


A similar system AUDS (Anti-UAV Defence System) is designed by company Blighter Surveillance Systems Ltd.

The system also includes the centimeter range radar, the optical channel, thermal television channel, jammer.

The radar specification:

Detection range up to 10 km;

minimum target RCS - 0,01m²;

radiated power of 4 W;

azimuth detection - 180°.

Optical channel:

optical zoom – 30x;

digital zoom – 12x;

focus - auto.

Thermal channel:

resolution 640x512.

You may check the video.


A subsidiary of AIRBUS "Electronics and Border Security (EBS)" together with the German company Dedrone design multi-sensor drone detection system – DroneTracker.

You may check the video about this device.

The default set includes: camera, IR camera, microphones. This system may detect the sound of the working drone motor, ignoring the background noises. If the drone gets closer to the system  - it will be suppressed by jammer. Radio-sensors may recognize even the drone manufacturer and specification. The number of sensors may vary depending on the object that should be secured by the system and customer wish as well.

Internal module appearance:The number indicate:

  1. Microphones
  2. ISM range radio-emission sensor
  3. IR-camera
  4. Optical range camera


Jammer works in WLAN band 2405-2485 MHz. The band 5,5 GHz and the GPS channel may be added optionally.

The next video shows us an example of drone detection using only one module, sound and optical channels are used.

Detection software is very similar to OpenCV, the developers most likely used OpenCV's libraries and they are the first who use the sound channel for detection.

The manufacturer claims that this device may find the location of the person, who controls the drone. However, they don't mention how it works. In my opinion, the only way it may work – is to set modules along all the territory and create a network of passive emission detectors.


Talking about sound channel...

Panasonic designed an acoustic phased array of 32 microphones to detect drones. Actually, the company created such devices long ago, but now they've decided to try it on such a growing market.

Camera is placed in the center of the construction and it's surrounded by the microphones that are covered with protective grid. The specification isn't available, however if we check the previous materials of Panasonic engineers – we may conclude that UAV detection will be possible in 1 km radius by detecting drone's propellers noises. Highly directional beam of sound channel makes possible to differentiate natural and technological background noise.


Physical counteraction

The first project for catching the drones is called SkyWall100, by company OpenWorks Engineering.

It is a portable or stationary, or mounted on the means of transportation weapon.

The weapon is equipped with laser rangefinder, camera. On-board computer calculates the distance and anticipation for UAV shot. The shot is fired by the container supplying appropriate dose of compressed gas in the chamber, adjusting the distance of the shot up to 100 meters.

Check the video.

The container includes parachute, net with 4 sinkers. Under the influence of pyrotechnic fuses, radial loads fly away radially from the container, stretching network during the flight. The container opens dividing into two parts during the flight, all the firing parts are connected to each other with cord. The weapon can be reloaded fast enough (8 seconds) and the amount of compressed air is enough for a doze of shots.

The system is quite effective in the 100 m shot range segment. Shooting triple/quad/octa-copters isn't difficult task, since they fly slowly.


Engineers of the M.A.L.O.U. company invented the new tactics, what if the drone flies high enough to catch him, the protective system is too expensive – why wouldn't we make a special drone to catch another drone with the help of a net? No sooner said than done.

The company made a special drone with net that is "hunting" another drone. Though, it looks more like the spider Deinopidae spinosa.

Unfortunately, the drone isn't smart enough to detect and hunt the "enemy" itself. The drone is controlled by the operator, who learned how to control the drone and the net.

Check the video.


In addition to the drones with net we want to mention – a weapon with the net.

Due to the limited range and altitude of weapons, high maneuverability characteristics of targets, the engineers decided to set the weapon with a net up on the drone. Video is available here. Stealing drones becomes not only fun hobby, but a profitable hobby as well.

This brief review helps us understand that as the drones market growing – the drone counteraction market grows as well. Huge companies, that offer full protection systems, little private companies and even separate developers are present on the market right now. The Government is expected to strict the drones usage rules. For example, the Chinese Developer DJI was made to patch the software to forbid the drones to fly around the White House and close to the Washington Airport.



2,4 GHz

As we can see, all the anti-drone systems, suppress the frequency of 2,4 GHz. This is unlicensed band for all the unlicensed wireless devices (ISM). Almost every drone controlling device works at this band. Microdrones that are controlled via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi work at this band as well. So we may call this band – the most easily suppressed. Moreover, the video connection that provides the remote control with the video from the drone works at the same band.

5,8 GHz

Some manufacturers use this frequency as an option. Control equipment for this band exist, but it isn't so popular among drone owners, since it requires self-mounting and tuning of receiving / transmitting equipment, and moreover it has less stable signal transmission if there's any barrier between. Nevertheless, video streaming at this frequency becomes even more popular because it's possible to use smaller antennas and the channel is almost free from interferences.

1,2 GHz

The most popular frequency for streaming analog video. Wide variety of video transmitters and receivers from bvrc, rangevideo, lawmate and Chinese manufacturers. The frequencies are very close to the GPS ones so even the transmitter itself can interfere with GPS.

LRS (Long Range Systems)

We should mention the Long Range System (LRS) that uses 400-460 MHz frequencies. The main feature – is the ability to work on long distances, that's why it's installed on the planes, that can fly long distances and can be in the air way longer than the drones. In this way, we can avoid all the counteraction measures. These frequencies aren't suppressed by any counteraction system. However, we should admit that the military forces still can do it.


GPS suppression is used to prevent the drone from flying back to the start point after the loss of signal and telemetry. Optional.


The most of the drones are made RTF (ready-to-fly) - they're always ready to fly and they have standard units, devices, frequencies. As an example, DJI Phantom – quite popular series of quadrocopters around the world.

ARF - Almost Ready to Fly. It has body and frame and requires to install additionally the electronics (receiver, speed controller, propellers, video transmitter, etc).

KIT - separate drone's frame units. It is necessary to gather everything and install the electronics like in the ARF.

ARF and KIT require the knowledge how to select the controlling equipment, knowledge of the way the mechanisms work, connections between the units and their characteristics. Such a operation of setting up the drone can be made by a qualified specialist, it is hard for a beginner, however it allows you to choose from a variety of the components, units and characteristics.


Counteracting counteraction

For example, if you need to design copter or gliding system for bypassing Signals intelligence or Electronic warfare, flying in a restricted zones or territories, etc. RTF won't be a good choice for such goals. We need to use ARF or KIT body and the components should be chosen based on the goals.

At the picture you may see the internal parts of the one drone set. The drone controls, telemetry transmission and video streaming are done via CDMA channel. The choice of this channel is caused by its bandwidth, the ability to transmit HD video and high noise reduction, NLS (noise-like and broadband signal) that almost can't be detected by Signals intelligence.

The drone basis – is Raspberry Pi2 (3) computer and additional controller, which, in fact, works to provide more ports for the main computer. Additional controller gathers the flight information from all the sensors, such as barometric altitude, coordinates of the global positioning system, the energy consumption of the motor, the calculation of the position, angle of declination, the acceleration of the gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetic compass. In case of failure or if GPS is jammed, the controller calculates the position, the movement of the drone from the inertial navigation system. It controls engine speed (engine - copter), mechanization of the wing, the chamber suspension, other additional mechanisms (flap cargo compartment, cargo discharge mechanism, etc.).

When the main computer receives the data from the additional one, it calculates the flight route considering the information it was provided with and switches control to the operator. Meanwhile, it can film and stream the video. This is the drone that can fly independently by the given coordinates and automatically perform tasks without human. Powerful computing ability of Raps allows him to perform complicated calculations on board of the drone - for example, the recognition of the objects on the surface, 3D maps rendering, orientation by landmarks.

Since the CDMA signal coverage may not always be available, it's preferable to have long-range system  (LRS) and backup video transmission channel (HDMI to AVI converter - Video transmitter).

As we can see, a lot of the security systems against small and super-maneuverable UAVs were made, and their effectiveness depends on the tasks that you require. It would be easier, if we could rely on the integrity of the drones owners and if they wouldn't ever break the law. However, if the security is important for you, such companies as UDTech may help you to design the anti-UAV security system personally for you, the system that will be effective exactly for your tasks.

Have the good, safe & legal flights!

UDTech Team