Drones are great for all kinds of things, including shooting incredible 700-shot gigapixel images than Burning Man for example. But they can also be used for nefarious purposes, carrying explosives or expelling the bejesus from the Secret Service while trying to protect the prez. Dedrone already has a suite of antidrone tools with over 700 solutions in the hands of armed forces around the world. Today, the company announced it is adding a handheld system that can interfere with radio frequencies, effectively preventing drone pilots from flying their own drones.
Once the connection is lost, the next thing depends on the drone and how it is programmed to behave after it loses contact with the pilot. Some will just lie down wherever they are, others will try to navigate back to the starting location. It’s unclear what would happen if a drone operates autonomously with a programmed path, or possibly some sort of self-flying algorithm that takes it to its target.
The new DedroneDefender is aimed at civilian, state and local law enforcement in urban environments. Weighing in at 7.5 pounds and measuring 22 inches in length, it uses narrowband (or “comb”) jamming to ensure minimal interference with other devices. Once communication on a drone is interrupted, the tool goes into a pre-programmed safety mode to minimize risk to others and damage to the drone, the company claims.
“DroneDefender is a valuable resource for extremely hostile environments, as proven by our federal and military customers,” said Aaditya Devarakonda, CEO of Dedrone. “DedroneDefender extends that security to law enforcement and is an essential tool in a layered defense approach. It is easy to deploy and use for drone mitigation, especially when combined with the threat prioritization provided by DedroneTracker. Our solution library is constantly being updated to ensure that both DroneDefender and DedroneDefender can reduce even the latest manufactured and DIY drones.”
However, you cannot buy them yourself. For starters, US law prohibits the disabling of aircraft; DoD or Homeland Security may be authorized to take out a drone they identify as a terrorist threat (say at the Super Bowl), but local law enforcement or stadium security cannot legally take down the drone under current law. Unless you have very deep pockets and some pretty special authorizations, you’re out of luck. DedroneDefender’s price range runs into the tens of thousands of dollars.