San Francisco-based Dedrone works with managers of arenas, stadiums and other public facilities to detect unauthorized drones and other unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The firm sets up its DroneTracker software platform that provides airspace monitoring. The unit displays tracking data on a convenient browser interface.

Drones have distinctive communication signals that can be detected through cameras, Wi-Fi and radio frequency. The monitoring system enables users to identify whether the object in the air is a drone or other aircraft, such as a blimp, over a stadium or other venue. The setup enables security officers to distinguish between an approved drone, like those used at past Super Bowls, and rogue models.

What can officials do when an unauthorized drone is detected? The system has a sensor that allows for an accurate reading of the direction of the drone. DroneTracker can help a security guard locate the pilot and secure a reasonable resolution.

In a situation where a pilot cannot be located, security officers can move the audience away from a hovering drone, deploy the closure of a retractable roof, or emit an alert or light aimed at the drone’s camera, to prevent it from taking unauthorized footage.

Dedrone works with each customer on an individual basis to ensure the DroneTracker automatically deploys the solution that fits the facility’s individual needs.

GPN reached out to Joerg Lamprecht, CEO and co-founder of Dedrone. His views are below. His photo is at the right.

GPN: Can you offer an example of how local governments can use your firm’s system?

Joerg Lamprecht: Local police forces and regional airports are using drone detection to gauge drone activity in protected areas, where they may interrupt operations. Additionally, public utilities are vulnerable infrastructure, especially open reservoirs, where a drone could easily access open airspace, drop a suspicious payload, and cause catastrophic damages.

The physical size of a drone, which can be from ounces to hundreds of pounds, can also cause damage simply if the pilot loses control of the vehicle and crashes in to sensitive operations, such as a bank or hospital. Dedrone has worked with local police forces in Las Vegas and Nassau County during the 2016 Presidential debates to support their airspace security program. Even if an area is declared a “no-fly” zone, drone operators can easily infiltrate areas. As local governments do not have the same authority as a federal government agency to intercept a drone, the only option is to detect and deploy a proactive security solution. As it relates to airports, the FAA says that the number of possible drone sightings at FAA air traffic facilities continued to increase during FY 2016. There were 1,274 such reported sightings from February through September last year, compared with 874 for the same period in 2015.

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