By Del Deason
From the April 2020 Issue
The introduction of military-grade drone technology to the mainstream market has opened the door of possibilities as to how this solution can be leveraged as part of a security program. There are several clear benefits of drone technology, but at the same time more facility executives are also educating themselves on anti-drone technology and why and where this technology may need to be deployed.
Airports, universities, large public open-air venues, and critical infrastructure facilities are amongst a group of facility types that recognize the potential security risk associated with an aerial drone flying above. Why would someone want to fly a drone above a large stadium with 100,000 spectators, for example? Is it to get a different view of the event, or does the person have malicious intentions?
Because of this, facility executives are beginning to work closely with their systems integrator partner to test and deploy anti-drone technology that can detect an aerial drone and, in turn, help to identify the drone operator.
A Look At Anti-Drone Technology
Anti-drone radar technology, for example, can be deployed to detect and identify objects that have the signature of a drone. These radar systems look for certain markers that would classify an object as a drone, such as its size and the way it is behaving. It should be able to distinguish between an object of nature, such as a bird, or a drone.
Once the radar system identifies an object as a drone, that should trigger a secondary step of visual verification. Verification can be accomplished by using the human eye or a surveillance camera to confirm that an object is in fact a drone.
Next, end users should consider investing in additional drone technology that can identify the radio frequency signature of the drone, coupled with GPS technology to identify the location of the drone operator. Once a drone is confirmed to be in airspace that is of concern and GPS technology helps to identify the location of the operator, end users should contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to locate the individual operating the drone.
With anti-drone technology, there are also legal implications to take into consideration. Even though several companies have introduced anti-drone technology that can shoot down or capture a drone, these actions may be illegal unless you are a government entity or the drone is flying over a government installation. It’s also illegal to tamper with the radio frequency of a drone in an attempt to disable the device or change its flight path.
Regardless of the type of anti-drone technology deployed, it’s important to take a multi-layered approach to drone detection to ensure accurate identification. And, as more security end users deploy programs to test anti-drone technology, there is a heightened awareness about the number of drones currently being used during large sporting events or other large public gatherings.
With the use of aerial drones becoming a regular occurrence, facility executives and security professionals alike need to educate themselves on not just the benefits this technology presents, but also the risks and the appropriate steps to take to guard against an unwanted drone entering the airspace of their facility or venue.
Deason is a senior vice president for Vision Security Technologies, a 20-year old security integration company based in Pelham, AL. He has more than 30 years of experience in the public safety, law enforcement, and security industry. Vision Security Technologies provides security solutions for state and federal government, education campuses, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, stadiums and arenas, utilities, industrial and corporate headquarters throughout the states of Alabama, Tennessee, and the Gulf Coast.
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