The future of drone detection depends on one factor

The future of drone detection depends on one factor

In the presence of rapidly evolving threats, the one factor that drone detection tools must be fully capable of is enabling reliable responses.

As drones continue to evolve in their sophistication and applications, so too must CUAS technology and practices. In the past, this evolution has seen an array of new developments including RF and imaging sensors, but moving forward this journey must be carefully considered.

Now, CUAS technology must be multi-faceted to tackle significant challenges, including payload drops and chemical dispersion platforms to name just two.

Alongside technical innovations, we also need to consider how teams can confidently respond to rogue drone incursions with the correct authority.

Autonomy and CUAS tools

Responses to rogue drone incursions have had to be re-evaluated in the past – most noticeably transitioning from single responses to an ecosystem of CUAS tools. With the rise of autonomous drone operations, this may need to happen once again to ensure that all responses are comprehensive and secure.

One distinctive challenge posed by the current trajectory of drone capabilities involves the focus on onboard intelligence and alternative means of connection. Previously, response teams were able to locate pilots by tracing RF signals emanating from the drone, but more advanced onboard intelligence systems combined with new connection types such as through 5G, may well threaten this practice.

A drone without established command and control integrations may require an alternative solution.

Drone detection and management – a layered approach

When we look to the future of drone operations, another school of thought involves layering detection and management disciplines to provide an all-encompassing approach.

Both focus on providing users with high-quality, actionable intelligence. As users grow more sophisticated, platforms must offer more advanced insights. With platforms offering both drone management and drone detection tools in one dashboard, these disciplines may become more unified.

However, it’s important to note that a closer relationship would vary by application. While drone management and drone detection platforms may be a smart solution for commercial users, these capabilities will have to remain separate in a military environment, due to the need for individual teams that can respond with the authority and assurance needed.

Authority in drone incursion responses

Users must have a high level of authority to effectively deploy countermeasures.

There is a wide range of risks involved in any response – both in military and crowded environments. Drones can cause damage to buildings, environments, infrastructure, or people, so accurately responding in the safest manner possible demands a certain level of assuredness. But who should decide these responses, and who decides which approach is safest?

While it’s difficult to accurately predict the future of drone detection, the question of authority in responses needs to be addressed. As John Hegranes writes for Forbes:

“There remains a gap where adequate counter-drone legislation should be. For example, should police be able to hack a drone that poses an impending threat to the public?”

When there’s an unauthorised drone event, just how can teams safely and quickly respond?

Progressing the authority issue

Currently, it is illegal for civilians to respond to incursions by bringing down drones.

Responding to drone incursions involves a wide range of parties, all working to quickly mitigate any threats. Defining which parties have the authority to safely take countermeasures can ensure that responses remain safe and streamlined. As leaders in the space, we remain involved in these discussions to help create the best path forward. We already supply drone detection tools to the Metropolitan Police, working alongside them and the CAA to explore the best avenues for drone response in shifting environments.

In our role supplying ground-based air defence solutions to the military, we also make sure that military teams remain as informed and capable as possible. As a result, teams can quickly mitigate threats while navigating the need for authority in their response.

Committed to creating safer spaces

At Operational Solutions, we’re determined to empower users to better respond to drone threats across a wide range of environments.

Our range of advanced drone detection solutions is designed to facilitate rapid responses with confidence so that teams can quickly close the window of vulnerability with unparalleled visibility. Discover how we can help you detect, monitor, and resolve risks today.