UPDATE: DroneShield has been in touch with DroneSec regarding some of the questions posed by readers in both comments and emails in the article below. Please see the bottom of the article for responses.
DroneShield’s detection capabilities come in the form of uniquely configured acoustic receivers, recognising drone by the sound of their propellors. While this may alert security responders to the area, we are unsure of the capabilities if a swarm of drones was introduced, or a custom drone with sounds different to commercial drones.
A sample of the drone’s sound is then compared to a proprietary database of collated drone sounds. This is similar to how anti-virus detection works; seeing a signature and looking up similar matches in a database. It is unknown how DroneShield detection capabilities react to new or unknown sounds, how the database is updated, or if their are any heuristic or learning capabilities by the device.
The video shows a general target area on a geo-locational map with the reading:
ALERT: OMNI SENSOR 1
It is unknown whether the responder is given details of the type of drone detected, the range, location or number of drones. This information, if included, would sport quite the handy user interface for including within security operation centres or surveillance booths.
Introduced in this article, the DroneGun is a portable weapon with a range of up to several kilometres away. DroneShield suggests it targets 2.4ghz and 5ghz radio frequencies (RF) as well as a GPS jammer, which is only legal in some areas. The video suggests it is easy to use, lightweight and does not require extensive user training in order to operate the DroneGun. The manoeuvrability of the gun hasn’t yet been tested, however vision appears to show the gun requiring a backpack to operate.
Reports of the DroneGun capabilities have varied between ‘several kilometres away’ and up to 2 kilometres (1.4 miles). Considering the speed of the new DJI Inspire 2.0 at 107km/h (68m/ph), it would take almost 72 seconds to get out of range of the DroneGun. DroneShield has been reached out to in order to comment on the amount of time it would take for the DroneGun to successfully disrupt the RF of a drone from lock on to landing.
Rather than shooting a net or using eagles (video) as seen with other techniques, DroneShield claims to blast the offending drone with electromagnetic noise. This disrupts the communication between the pilot’s controller and the drone, forcing the drone to return home or land. It is unknown if the security responder can select which option, or if it depends on the type of drone being targeted, and it’s ‘Go Home’ capabilities.
Obviously a growing area for concern, companies like DroneShield are taking the opportunity to create new and advanced anti-drone technology to counter against surveillance and corporate espionage. The question is, will this technology face an unmet demand for skilled human operators, or will it satisfy low operating requirements, making it a viable choice for security guards or even individuals protecting various assets. It will be interesting to see if specialised anti-drone operator jobs start popping up to meet this new device-operating demand.
You can learn more about DroneShields products and watch other videos here. Keep an eye on anti-drone operator jobs for Australia or internationally, it may be worth looking at offensive/defensive drone training materials for the new frontier in the drone security space. Most Drone operator jobs consistently see salaries between the $60,000 and $100,000 mark.
A number of questions in the article were posed by our readers in regards to the operation of the DroneGun and the capabilities of DroneShield detection products. You may find the responses from DroneShield below.
DroneSec: What are the capabilities of DroneShield detection technology if a swarm of drones was introduced, or if a custom drone was identified with acoustic sounds different to commercial drones.
Swarm of drones – both DroneShield detection sensors and DroneGun can be equally effective on a swarm, as on a single drone.
Custom drones – Custom drones still typically use commercially available components (blades, engines, etc), and thus should generally be detected.
DroneSec: How is the drone-signature database updated, and are there any heuristic or learning capabilities utilised by the device?
The database is updated regularly with new signatures. This is done digitally either remotely (via a cloud), or via a manual update. No comments made on AI or learning capabilities at this time.
DroneSec: Is the DroneGun responder given details of the type and number of drones detected, the range, and location via the detection panel?
The responder can tell general details about the type of drone, but not the exact model. This is because a number of manufacturers copy the designs of top brands. DroneShield sensors identify sector areas where the drone appears, and multiple overlapping sensor installations can give higher precision on the location.
DroneSec: What is a rough idea of the time it would take for the DroneGun to successfully disrupt the RF of a drone from lock-on to landing? Does range has a factor in this.
The signal between the drone and the controller is cut effectively straight away. However, drones are often programmed to wait for up to 5-30 seconds before commencing a response mechanism, such as landing. The video to the drone pilot would cut straight away.
DroneSec: Could a security responder select options on the DroneGun to make the drone ‘go-home’ or alternatively, land immediately? Or does this depend on the type of drone being targeted. (e.g. DJI phantom 3 vs 4)
This depends on whether the RF or RF+GPS functions are deployed. Jamming RF generally triggers most drone models to return back to their starting point (thus helping to identify the pilot), while jamming RF and GPS triggers a controlled vertical landing.
Thank you to the DroneShield team for responding so promptly to the article and enlightening us with these comments! For any further queries on the above article, please email [email protected] or comment below.
We are aware many of the comments are discussed on Reddit. Hopefully DroneSec can coordinate a Reddit AMA with DroneShield for further insights into this technology.