All three major Australian television networks reported yesterday that Queensland Liberal National Party leader Tim Nicholls has pledged to form an anti-drone police unit, equipped with DroneShield‘s DroneGuns. Calling the tool a “raygun,” on television, the politician used his plan as an example of how he would be tough on crime and terrorism.
The coverage related to the country’s November 25 Queensland State General Election. National security, terrorism, and crime are major issues in the campaign: both the Labor Party and the Liberal National Party have committed to increasing spending on law-enforcement and defense. Reported incidents of drones delivering contraband to prisons, interfering with passenger aircraft, or otherwise contributing to crime are on the rise in Australia and around the world. DroneShield points to a report recently published by the US Department of Homeland Security identifying weaponized consumer drones as a “terror threat.”
The public perception that drones represent a terrorist threat and a problem for law enforcement may not be good news for the burgeoning commercial industry, but it’s a boon for anti-drone security firms like DroneShield. Based in both Sydney and Virginia, DroneShield provides high-tech solutions for detecting and disabling consumer drones. The company’s DroneGun, which has been used by international military forces to protect sensitive targets, effectively jams a drone signal, bringing the drone down immediately.
The DroneGun is not authorized for use in the United States except by authorized military and law enforcement agencies. It’s widespread adoption in Australia could prove a use case that makes the technology more commonly used worldwide for protection of politically sensitive targets, prisons, and other important infrastructure. The company also offers DroneSentry and DroneSentinel, more permanent installations that can be used to detect drones around properties like airports.
As the commercial drone market expands, the anti-drone market is growing almost as rapidly. A December 2016 report by Grandview Research predicts that the anti-drone market will reach 1.85 billion by 2024.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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