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special focus u Drone detection Detecting drones


From 19 December to 21 December, a series of reported sightings of drones around Gatwick caused hundreds of flights to be cancelled and an estimated 140,000 passengers to be stranded. In a similar incident on 8 January at Heathrow, sightings of a drone temporarily halted flights. Here, Oleg Vornik, chief executive


officer of DroneShield, discusses the sensors available to detect drones and prevent such disruption from happening again


we call it the three Cs – the Careless, Clueless and Criminal use of drones. With the rise of the threat, comes the need to accurately detect and (where legally possible) defeat the drones. This article discusses what to look for when it comes to such sensors.


T


A multI-SenSOr DetectIOn SOlutIOn The main drone detection methods today include radar and radio frequency (RF) sensors. Acoustics is not discussed due to low reliability of current technologies, while cameras/electro-optics are suitable for identification but not detection, due to trade- off between field of view and distance. No future-proof “silver bullet” exists and


the role of the counterdrone systems and manufacturers is to keep up with the drone technology and evolve with it. The solution is lots of “lead bullets”.


WHAt tO lOOk FOr In A rADAr A radar is effectively a motion tracker. Key parameters, in simple terms, include: - Resolution: the radar needs to have sufficiently fine resolution to detect small drones (DJI Phantom grade and below), at meaningful distances (1km+). Numerous radars have been designed to detect large shiny metal objects (aka planes, helicopters) and are less suited for detecting small, carbon body objects flying closer to the ground (drones) - Azimuth coverage: horizontal coverage


angle. This normally ranges from 90-360 degrees, with multiple radars used to deliver a wider angle if required - Vertical angle: a lot of radars on the market


are 10-30 degrees, meaning significant blind spots, especially as the drone gets closer – as close to 90 degree vertical coverage as possible should be the target - 2D vs 3D: 3D radar has several


advantages, including giving elevation data on the target, as well as the ability to reduce clutter but filtering objects past certain heights


44


(thus eliminating ground based false alarms) - Portability: unless a fixed installation,


formfactor and ability to mount relatively quickly and easily on a mast is important - Moving vs fixed panels: less moving parts is


preferable, as this reduces wear and tear and the potential for damage.


WHAt tO lOOk FOr In A rADIO Frequency (rF) SenSOr RF sensors work for the most part by


he recent Gatwick and Heathrow incidents have brought to the fore the threats caused by drones. In the industry


DroneShield’s DroneSentry – a combination of radar, radio


frequency sensor, and a jammer


DroneShield Complete User Interface


matching drone communication protocols to a signature in the RF sensor library. Multiple drone models sharing same protocol (eg LightBridge, Occusync etc) will map to the same signature. The desired features are: - Reliable mapping protocols with a


large RF library, to give large probability of detection and low false alarm ratios (note: certain false alarms such as IP cameras, may be unavoidable, but should be able to be whitelisted by the software)


January 2019 Instrumentation Monthly


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