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Dedrone at US Presidential debate

New Technology to Guard Against Drone Misuse During Final Presidential Debate

Las Vegas/San Francisco – October 20, 2016 – The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) used a sophisticated system of automated sensors and networked software to detect and identify potential drone threats during the final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, held yesterday at the Thomas & Mack Center, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

In the wrong hands, ‘off-the-shelve’ drones represent a serious security threat at public events. The White House is raising concerns about readily available drones that can carry weapons or explosives on pre-programmed flights paths, or be flown by concealed operators. Militant terrorist organizations have already used such drones in fatal attacks overseas.

“Having technology that will protect us from the air was a huge advantage to having a safe and uneventful evening”

For the Las Vegas presidential debate, the LVMPD integrated a complete drone detection and counter-drone solution from Dedrone with its own security measures. “Even though Las Vegas has hosted heads of state and presidents, the presidential debate coupled with the large crowd that it drew, posed a unique set of risks,” LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts said. “We were able to seamlessly integrate the tracker into our safety plan. Having technology that will protect us from the air and provide real-time information was a huge advantage to having a safe and uneventful evening.”

“All drone sightings were reported to the LVMPD in real time”

Automated monitoring of the airspace above the university was provided by Dedrone and its partner AirVu, a global leader in unmanned aerial security. Together they deployed a network of multi-sensor DroneTrackers to detect and identify drone incursions in a radius of several hundred meters from the debate location, extending beyond the campus perimeter.  The DroneTracker system recognized approaching drones using arrays of visual, acoustic and radio frequency sensors, and reported results to the LVMPD’s  operations  security center.

All drone sightings were reported to the LVMPD in real time, with critical incident information such a drone type, video footage, position and flight path available via command to other security agencies, including the FBI and the Secret Service.

“Airspace security is now as vital as security on the ground”

“Protecting the public from malicious drones is increasingly on the agenda of today’s security agencies,” said Dedrone CEO Jörg Lamprecht. “Millions of drones are sold each year. Cheaper drones are easily purchased by enthusiasts and photographers, but the technology has been used by militant groups as well. Airspace security is now as vital as security on the ground. We are very proud that our technology was selected to protect such a high-level national event, and that we were able to contribute to a successful outcome.”

Background information

•   Restriction bars drones from flying around UNLV during debate
•   Iraq attack shows deadly potential of ‘off-the-shelf’ drones
•   Drone Incidents

Videos

•   DroneTracker in action
•   What drones are capable of

About Dedrone

Dedrone is the international market and technology leader in drone detection. Its automated, software-based aerial intrusion detection platform DroneTracker provides early warning of illegal civilian UAVs and is used to protect data centers, government buildings, stadiums, prisons and other critical infrastructure installations against smugglers, spies and terrorist attacks. Depending on requirements, various countermeasures, such as jammers, can be integrated and be triggered automatically. DroneTracker is currently distributed by more than 150 partners in 50 countries. Dedrone, founded in 2014, is based in San Francisco, CA (USA) and is backed by US and international investors. Research and development are based in Kassel, Germany.

Original post:

http://www.dedrone.com/en/newsroom/press-detail/automated-drone-detection-system-helps-secure-final-presidential-debate

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Drones carrying drugs

Drones carrying large amounts of drugs and mobile phones have been intercepted by police as they were being flown near a north London jail.

One device crashed after it was tracked flying over HMP Pentonville on 14 August, while another drone was seized mid-flight later the same day.

On 13 August, a man was spotted by officers acting suspiciously near the prison. He fled but dropped two bags of class B drugs and phones.

No arrests have been made.

Det Ch Insp Steve Heatley said the drones “carried a substantial amount of class B drugs, legal highs and a large quantity of mobile phones”.

“We are able to intercept them thanks to the vigilance of officers and the public,” he said.

The devices were recovered as part of Operation Airborne, which involved officers investigating attempts to smuggle contraband into the all-male prison over the weekend of 12-14 August.

Two other drones got away during the operation, police said.

Earlier this year it was revealed that drones were increasingly being used tosmuggle items into prisons in England and Wales.

Figures showed there were 33 incidents involving devices in 2015, compared to two in 2014 and none in 2013.

Drugs, phones, mobile chargers and USB cards were among the items discovered.

The use of drones is a particular problem at older jails like HMP Pentonville, according to officers.

“They’ve worked out they can drop drones into the prison yard… because the fences aren’t as high and they’re built near houses”, Det Supt Stuart Ryan said.

In April, a drone carrying contraband was captured on CCTV being flown into Wandsworth Prison, a jail built in the 1850s.

Andy Darken of the Prison Officers’ Association said the prison service “doesn’t really have the resources, means or indeed the know how yet of how to deal with the problem”.

In February the Met said it was “looking at the work of the Dutch police use of eagles” as a method to intercept devices.

The Ministry of Justice said it was “doing more” to tackle the issue.

 

 

The orginal article can be found here: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-37152665

 

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Fallout over drone crash at Koeberg

By Siyavuya Mzantsi and Carlo Petersen IOL

 

Cape Town – While the Hawks have confirmed taking over the investigation into a drone that crashed at the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, nuclear experts have reacted with outrage towhat they say is Eskom’s “lax security”.

The SA Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) said the crash was being handled by its legal and aviation compliance division.

While the drone had been returned to its owner, the incident led to the suspension of Koeberg’s safety officer as a precautionary measure.

But nuclear and aviation experts have raised questions about how the drone ended up at the national key point.

Hawks provincial spokesperson Lloyd Ramovha said the case involved the violation of the National Key Point Act as well as the Civil Aviation Act.

Ramovha said no arrests had been made but the investigation was continuing.

According to the Civil Aviation Regulations and limitations, the aircraft should not be flown adjacent to or above a nuclear power plant, prison, police station, crime scene, court of law, national key point or strategic installation. Failure to adhere to the applicable civil aviation regulations could result in a 10-year prison sentence, a fine of R50 000 or both.

Nuclear and former UWC research expert Renfrew Christie says any unauthorised breach of a nuclear power station perimeter should be treated as “deadly serious” and an emergency.

“It is plain that this breach by a drone was mishandled by Eskom. The offending drone should not have been returned to its owner, and certainly not before a complete investigation had taken place. I believe nuclear breaches should always be prosecuted in the courts,” he said.

“This is because what may seem an accidental intrusion by a ‘recreational’ drone could well be undercover reconnoitring for an attack,” he said.

Sacaa spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba said: “Individuals and entities operating remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) are expected to comply with the applicable Civil Aviation Regulations.”

Ledwaba said Sacaa would never condone or tolerate any form of blatant disregard of the applicable rules.

“Given the low cost and easy availability of RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems), it is possible errant individuals may utilise these aircraft in an unsafe manner, thus presenting a risk to other airspace users, the public and property,” said Ledwaba.

Drone operators have the responsibility of ensuring that the aircraft operated safely and did not endanger the safety of another aircraft, person or property, or invade the privacy and security of any other member of the public.

“The RPAS pilot must observe all statutory requirements relating to liability, privacy and any other laws enforceable by other institutions.”

Eskom has remained tight-lipped about the incident, saying the matter was under investigation and no further details could be divulged.

Linden Birns, an aviation consultant and managing director of Plane Talking, said a breach of security was worrying given the strategic nature of an installation such as Koeberg, because of everyone who depended on the reliable and stable supply of electricity.

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The Pentagon and the Bomb-Carrying Consumer Drones

The Pentagon and the Bomb-Carrying Consumer Drones

By Justin Bachman / Bloomberg technology

​They’re cheap, they’re light, and they can carry a small bomb: The commercial drone is essentially a new terror gadget for anyone else looking to wreak havoc on a budget.

Weaponized to various degrees of sophistication, such unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now being used in the civil wars.

The U.S. military has begun studying small drones and how best to respond. Earlier this month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) issued a request for ideas on how to protect troops from the new threat; it is planning a workshop next month. “We’re looking for scalable, modular, and affordable approaches that could be fielded within the next three to four years and could rapidly evolve with threat and tactical advancements,” a DARPA program manager, Jean-Charles Ledé, said in astatement.

Closer to the battlefield, the Marine Corps has begun integrating small drones into training exercises at the Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., Neller said. A Marine or soldier who spots a drone overhead would typically shoot it down, but smaller drones can operate surreptitiously and elude radar since they are barely larger than a bird. Their small motors make acoustic detection enormously hard, and while wide-area camera sensors deployed on the ground might detect a drone, they usually require large computational resources in the field. One solution is an electronic signal jammer to prevent a drone’s operator from flying within a certain vicinity, an approach that U.S. forces have studied.

It’s worth noting that the U.S. also deploys small drones, typically for reconnaissance and surveillance. One of these, called Switchblade (PDF), is a model from California-based Aerovironment Inc. that’s been used by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. The 5.5 pound drone can carry a lethal charge and has been flown in Syria, Metrick said.

When it comes to large drones, the U.S. has shown itself—somewhat controversially—to have no current peer. Remotely piloted Reaper and Predator drones have been used in thousands of attacks, including “targeted killings” for more than a decade. And the U.S. has major ocean-going drones: The autonomous Echo Voyager from Boeing Co., for example, can patrol underwater for months.

Those drones are all highly advanced platforms, with technology and price tags that put them far out of reach of almost all but the most advanced militaries. For the guerrilla masses, the numerous cheaper, lightweight models are far more accessible. Their easiest use would be simply to monitor U.S. activities. But it’s their potential for modified, deadlier use that worries U.S. military tacticians.

Access to full article is available here:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-23/the-pentagon-takes-aim-at-bomb-carrying-consumer-drones

Amazon details its plan for how drones can fly safely over U.S. skies

Amazon sparked interest in drones more than a year and a half ago when it revealed on “60 Minutes” a program to use drones to deliver packages within 30 minutes. Since then the Amazon Prime Air engineers have largely kept a low profile as they test their technology overseas.

But at a conference Tuesday attended by leading players in the burgeoning drone world, Gur Kimchi, vice president of Amazon Prime Air, shared the company’s proposal for how drones could operate safely in cities, suburbs and beyond around the world.

“Imagine the Internet without HTTP and TCP/IP,” Kimchi said. “That’s basically where we are now. So we’re putting our foot down, and we’d like everybody to feel an urgent need to come together and create these standards and adapt them.”

He spoke at the NASA Ames Research Center, which is hosting hundreds of guests for a three-day conference to discuss an air traffic management system for drones.

Amazon suggests divvying up airspace access based on a drone’s mission and capabilities. Drones would connect to an online network that manages their flights in real time to prevent any trouble. Amazon believes this approach will ensure safe and efficient drone flights.

Kimchi is calling for airspace under 200 feet to be designated for low-speed localized traffic. Drones in this space might be surveying, shooting videos or conducting inspections. Drones without the best collision-avoid technology would also be restricted to this level.

While that airspace would be like a local service road, between 200 and 400 feet would serve as a highway for drones. Most of these drones would be flying autonomously. A drone making a long commute to conduct a mapping operation or package delivery could speed along in airspace populated by drones only with the most sophisticated sense-and-avoid technologies. These drones would communicate with each other and be able to detect hazards not on the drone network, such as birds. The airspace between 400 and 500 feet would be left empty as a buffer between drones and planes.

Only drones with the best capabilities — such as technology capable of detecting and avoiding birds — would be allowed to fly in urban areas. Sense-and-avoid technology is critical as companies such as Amazon want their drones to fly autonomously, so a human won’t be present to avert a collision with a pigeon, skyscraper or helicopters.

Kimchi sketched out one potentially dangerous situation, and how a network like the one Amazon envisions would prevent a mishap: What if a homeowner happens to be having a package delivered at the same time their real estate agent had planned to shoot a sales video of the home with a drone?

“The ground control station will present an alert. Maybe — it depends on the software — it will tell the operator what they can do: land, create a geofence so you stay on this side not the other side, remain under an altitude, whatever,” Kimchi said. “They accept the alert. They do the right thing; we can complete the mission. We take off again. The alert clears; both networks notify each other, and then they can complete the real estate photography.”

Kimchi also laid out his thinking on how autonomous drones could safely fly in the same locations as helicopters. Helicopters are much more problematic than planes for drones because of low-altitude flying.

“The helicopter can talk to air traffic control, which can then maybe draw a little rectangle around where they’re flying and then say, ‘Hey this is a new no-fly zone; all drones please get away.’ Because the system is all real time, this will be sent to all drones as an alert,” Kimchi said. “Even if the pilot doesn’t do anything they still have sense-and-avoid. They’ll see the pilot from a long time away and still disperse.”

Amazon thinks drones can fly safely in urban areas, provided they have an array of cutting-edge technologies, which are still being developed and tested by Amazon and others. It believes drones flying over cities should have geospatial data to avoid known hazards such as buildings; online flight planning and management; an Internet connection; sense-and-avoid that communicates with other drones, plus sense-and-avoid that uses sensors to detect unexpected obstacles such as birds.

Delivering packages via drones could be a boon for Amazon if it cuts its shipping costs and speeds up deliveries for customers.

Amazon expects that in the next 10 years the number of drone flights under 400 feet will dwarf the roughly 85,000 commercial, military, cargo and general aviation flights that happen every day in the United States. Given this projected growth, Amazon believes responsibility for traditional air services such as navigation and air traffic control must be delegated. It imagines a civil aviation authority having underlying authority, yet much of the air navigation being handled in a distributed fashion as drone operators manage their fleets. Amazon sees such a model working provided that all parties follow the same protocols.

Its vision is more ambitious than the FAA’s proposed rules for commercial drone flight, which do not allow operation outside of a pilot’s line of sight. Those rules are expected to be finalized within a year. Now we’ll see if drone operators such as Amazon can demonstrate to the FAA and others that autonomous drones can safely fly in a range of environments. If that happens, the full potential of drones could be realized.

This is an article by Matt McFarland – the editor of Innovations.

 

 

 

 

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Pipeline Inspection Drone

One of Europe’s largest natural gas transmission firms will look to drone technology to help ensure the safety and operation of gas lines.
French company GRTgaz announced the hiring of Air Marine, a French aerial-data company, to conduct monthly inspections on 50 miles of natural gas pipeline. According to
a company press release, the first pilot inspections too place over the past few months in southwestern France and “confirmed the worth of this innovative solution,” a company spokesperson said. GRTgaz hopes the drone surveillance plan will provide a more efficient means of inspection in densely wooded and remote areas. The company, which owns and operates just less than 20,000 miles of underground pipelines, hopes to use Air Marine drones to complement its current monitoring system of ground-based inspectors along with piloted flyovers.
GRTgaz chose Air Marine due to the company’s experience with “beyond-visual-line-of-site” flight experience. Company officials say the inspection program is the first of its kind under
a revamped 2012 French law regulating drone use. During each deployment, Air Marine will use two pilots – one to navigate the drone and the other to analyze data. All flight data will
then be integrated into a special interface designed by Air Marine.
The natural gas supplier is the latest of several European companies to hire drones to inspect infrastructure. In April, French energy company GDF Suez announced a similar
partnership with Redbird, a civilian drone company, to monitor natural gas infrastructures. The French company’s venture capital subsidiary said it invested $2.1 million in Redbird to
facilitate drone monitoring of natural gas infrastructure, survey topography and monitor “security for public institutions.”

News by by Jason Reagan

http://dronelife.com/2015/07/14/french-energy-firm-deploys-pipeline-inspection-drone/

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Drone Mail Delivery Begins in Switzerland

The Swiss postal service recently announced that it has started testing the delivery of parcels through unmanned drones. While the program isn’t being implemented nationwide just yet, it shows great signs of progress. The program is expected to be launched full scale in the next five years.
The current testing phase is expected to last until July and Swiss postal service authorities are using white drones with four propellers to run tests. These UAVs have the ability to carry a load of more than 1 kilogram and can travel up to 10 kilometers in just one go. The drone takes flight autonomously through secure and predetermined flight paths which are created by Matternet, a drone and cloud software company.
The Swiss Post is collaborating with Swiss WorldCargo to test these drones before they are used across the nation. According to authorities, there are several factors that need to be
tested and analyzed in order to optimally use these drones in the future for mail delivery. These drones will be highly useful in remote locations within Switzerland, especially across
the Alpine country. This area consists of several isolated and remote villages where using drones to deliver parcels would be much easier than sending a postman. While this
program will be fully put into effect in 5 years, Swiss Post claims that for now, the drones will be used in case of emergency, where a specific area has been cut off from the rest of the
world after a storm.
Similarly in the US, Amazon is pushing the FAA to ease regulations on the usage of drones. The ecommerce giant stands to make a lot of profit if drones are allowed to be used for
delivery. Back in 2013, it had announced the launch of its new delivery program that would deliver goods within 30 minutes after being ordered. This plan however, has been put on
the backburner for now thanks to FAA regulations.

News by http://dronelife.com/2015/07/14/drone-mail-delivery-begins-in-switzerland/

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Amazon insists federal rules apply to U.S. deliveries by drone

Amazon.com, seeking to bolster its efforts to deliver products via drone, said on Tuesday that states and local communities should not be allowed to regulate unmanned aerial systems (UAS) authorized by federal aviation regulators.

“Uniform federal rules must apply,” Paul Misener, the e-commerce retailer’s vice president for global public policy, said in written testimony released by a U.S. House of Representatives oversight committee ahead of a Wednesday hearing.

“Given the interstate nature of UAS operations, states and localities must not be allowed to regulate UAS that the FAA has authorized, including with respect to airspace, altitude, purpose of operations, performance and operator qualifications.”

Misener is scheduled to appear Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as part of a witness panel that also includes a senior Federal Aviation Administration official and a privacy advocate.

Amazon.com and other companies including Google Inc (GOOGL.O) are working to develop sophisticated drone operations capable of delivering packages to consumers.

Drone advocates have pressed the FAA to accommodate advanced technology in commercial drone regulations expected by the end of 2016. The current proposed rules would limit flights to daylight hours at low altitudes and within an operator’s visual line of site.

But without comprehensive FAA rules in place now, states and local municipalities across the United States have been moving to regulate drone use on their own, using a variety of approaches.

In his testimony, Misener also called on FAA officials to make it their priority to harmonize forthcoming regulations on commercial drone operations with multilateral groups including the International Civil Aviation Organization. Drone advocates have said that overseas regulators have been moving more quickly than their U.S. counterparts to accommodate commercial drone use.

Amazon is also working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on a possible air traffic control system for drones that would further pave the way for integration of UAS into U.S. air space.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Chris Reese and Grant McCool)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/16/us-usa-drones-amazon-com-idUSKBN0OW2RB20150616