Irresponsibly-piloted drones can cause a lot of problems, such as when they're illegally flown into restricted airspaces. And while anti-drone measures do exist, many cause the aircraft to fall to the ground, potentially harming bystanders. A new system, however, takes remote control of rogue drones.
Developed by Dr. Houbing Song at Florida's Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the setup initially utilizes an artificially-intelligent network of wireless acoustic sensors to identify the telltale sound of an intruding drone within a given area. When one is detected, the sensor network transmits an alert to an automated control center.
If it's determined that the drone is indeed on an unauthorized flight, the control center then uses "sophisticated pattern-recognition techniques" to decipher the aircraft's video-streaming channel – this allows the system to interrupt the drone's video broadcast with a visual warning message to the pilot. If the pilot doesn't comply by flying out of the area, the system can then hijack the drone's control channel, triggering the aircraft's "return home" feature which causes it to automatically fly back to its point of take-off.
Unlike some other anti-drone systems, the Embry-Riddle setup should reportedly be inexpensive, and capable of working over long distances. Additionally, because it's non-destructive and therefore not considered a weapon, it doesn't fall under International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which would have restricted its use by civilians.
The technology has been licensed to Daytona Beach-based Drone Defense Systems, which is now working on refining and commercializing the product.
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