By AeroDefense on May 24, 2018

5 tips for Choosing a Drone Detection System

New to drone detection? Just curious? Actively evaluating solutions? Here are 5 tips to help you when choosing a drone detection system.

1. Drone Detection Range isn't a good comparison tool
Why not? Because actual drone detection ranges vary greatly due to many factors, including:

      • Signal strength emitted by the drone and controller (e.g., a toy drone may emit a weaker signal than a commercial grade drone)
      • The amount of other 'RF noise' in the environment (busy urban environments make it much more difficult to detect actual drone signals)
      • Buildings and other objects in the environment that cause RF signals to be reflected or otherwise difficult to locate (e.g., a system with a 5 mile range in the desert may only achieve a 500 yard range in New York City)

The only way to truly determine which drone detection solution has the best range in your environment is to conduct an on-site test.

2. Determine your priority: Drone Detection or Controller Detection
At some of our prison customers, the priority is the drone. Their goal is to intercept the payload. But stadiums often want to know who is responsible for causing spectator panic or disrupting an event. For them, the ability to locate the drone controller is key. So when you plan demo missions or scenarios, make sure you test the drone detection solution features that are important to your business.

3. Make sure you understand all the costs
Drone detection system costs vary widely, but here are some important considerations:

      • System costs (a system with many different types of sensors will be more expensive to buy, and test)
      • Annual licenses and support contracts
      • Installation costs
      • Sensor maintenance (which may include periodic testing, and in the case of camera sensors, regular cleaning)

4. In the United States it's illegal to 'take down' a drone
FAA regulations treat drones just like passenger aircraft. This means it's illegal to interfere with a drone in flight. So, unless you're a military entity, or you operate outside the United States, it is only legal to detect.

5. Decoding and demodulating a signal isn't a good way to obtain location data 
Why? Here are 5 great reasons:

      1. It's illegal to decode and demodulate a signal between a drone and controller. It breaks federal wire tapping laws. Some drone detection system vendors claim their is no 'expectation of privacy' for an unencrypted RF signal, so they consider this method of detection as legal (our lawyers disagree), but the fact is, that argument will be irrelevant soon because...
      2. Drone manufacturers have started encrypting their signals. And decoding an encrypted signal is definitely illegal.
      3. In a high RF environment, the drone detection system may not detect anything because it can't distinguish enough of the signal to decode and demodulate it. This method can be unreliable.
      4. Drone and controller location data can be spoofed or faked, so it may not be accurate.
      5. It's slow. It takes much longer to decode and demodulate than other forms of detection.

If you're actively evaluating drone detection solutions and you'd like to learn more about how the AirWarden™ drone detection system can help you detect and locate both drones and pilots, please Contact Us.


Published by AeroDefense May 24, 2018