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How do we stop drones flying near airports once and for all?

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What about remote identification?

We already know of some idiots who fly their drones near wildfires, preventing helicopters or aircraft from coming in close to douse the blaze. There are numerous types of incidences where bringing a drone down quickly is a priority. Obviously, technology such as signal jammers, or drone killer devices can halt UAVs in their tracks but these solutions are very expensive (drone killers are like $30,000) and only likely to be on hand and bigger airports.

Drone killer devices certainly look cool and are effective at bringing down drones but they are prohibitively expensive for most applications.

Andrew Shelly is the chief executive of Aviation Safety Management Systems Ltd, a New Zealand company that provides training to drone pilots. In an article on Kiwi news site, Newsroom, he says that one of the problems with identifying rogue drones is that unless the drone crashes, the chances of finding out who the pilot is, are slim to none.

Shelly advocates for something similar to DJI’s AeroScope. AeroScope can broadcast a drone’s location, altitude, speed, operator location and identifier.

A remote identifier, unlike a sticker affixed to a drone, could be known by aviation authorities at all times in just the same way that any aircraft in flight are identifiable in radar towers.

The problem with this system, according to Shelly, is that it that the ID data of the aircraft has been shown to be changeable, meaning that someone with ill intent could alter their unique ID to avoid detection from authorities. Systems like DJI’s aeroscope should be adopted by all drone manufacturers, but they are not totally foolproof.

Giving authorities more power to take down drones?

The US recently changed the law to make it easier for police officers to shoot down drones. The main change was the officers would no longer need a warrant to shoot down a drone. The specific changing of the wording in the legislation stated: authorities had powers to “disrupt,” “exercise control”,“seize or otherwise confiscate” drones determined to be “credible threats.”

If someone uses their drone in incredibly moronic ways, they deserve to have it shot down.

The UK police stated that their initial attempts to handle the drone situation at Gatwick were curtailed by legislative issues (e.g they could not act as quickly as they might have liked). Although different group rights must always be balanced, I think most of us can agree that if someone is endangering public safety, they deserve to have their drone shot down and to face criminal prosecution. To not support this stance is to bring the drone community into further disrepute in future. That’s the last thing we need.

Whatever law changes happen from here, it, unfortunately, seems likely that we’ll see more idiotic drone behaviour in the year to come.

Last year I wrote a piece titled, Companies look for ways to hack rogue drones and bring them down.

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