A Drone Safety Day Special Edition: Protecting Those Who Fly RIGHT
Since 2019, the FAA has organized an annual National Drone Safety Awareness Week to leverage the power of the drone community to educate all flyers. Consistent with this year’s theme, “Fly RIGHT” (Register your drone – DroneZone; Interact with others; Gain knowledge; Have a safety plan; TRUST and Train), most pilots follow the rules. The few outliers, often referred to as the “clueless, careless and criminal,” however, can damage the public’s acceptance of drone technology. This article pays homage to one of several companies who endeavor to protect all of those in the skies who fly right: counter drone technolgy that enables legitimate drone operations.
TITLE: D-Fending the Skies
By: Dawn Zoldi
Drones provide tangible benefits to millions globally. They have reshaped the way modern societies function. As a result, the drone industry has soared.
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A May 2022 report values the global commercial drone market size this year at USD 18.92 billion, up from 14.95 billion in 2021. They project it to grow to USD 61.95 billion by 2027.
As drones continue to proliferate, however, a small number of actors who fail to follow the rules, have the potential to set the burgeoning drone industry back. D-Fend Solutions, an emerging leader in counter-drone technology, aims to protect the emerging drone-powered society while overcoming the threat posed by rogue drones.
Founded by several former members of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the D-Fend team has created a unique cyber counter-drone technology suite. Its core system, EnforceAir, has made a name for the company as the counter-drone takeover technology leader. .
First, it detects, locates, and identifies rogue drones in the airspace. EnforceAir passively and continuously scans and detects the unique communication signals that drones emit to identify drones – specific airframes, not just make or model – using their key characteristics. As drone technology evolves, the D-Fend team continues to develop new capabilities and deep drone protocol knowledge, which ensures against false detections, and to accumulate data sets for its AI tools to stay ahead of the potential threats. This distinguishes it from traditional counter-drone technologies, such as radar, acoustic or optical solutions, which often fail to either identify small drones at all, or to differentiate them from other flying objects.
Once EnforceAir identifies a drone, it also uses cyber means as well as complex analysis of the drone and its movement to determine whether or not that drone is authorized. If the system detects an unauthorized drone, it can then locate the positions of both the drone in the air and the take-off position, near the pilot, on the ground, and neutralize the threat. It allows clients, either manually or autonomously, to take full control over the drone-in-question, with pin-point accuracy, and lead it through a safe route to land safely in a predefined zone.
This all-around surgical accuracy and precision takeover also sets EnforceAir apart from other counter-drone solutions. For example, kinetic solutions (e.g., shooting down the drone), present major risks including significant collateral damage consequences. Jamming-based solutions, or hybrid solutions that include jammers, may adversely affect other radio communications or affect other drones. This can pose a problem for nearby friendly broadcasts. Drone operators can also regain control of the drone once the jamming ceases. According to the D-Fend’s Chief Technology Officer, Assaf Monsa, whose considerable credentials include being a commander in the IDF’s most advanced Intelligence Unit and 20 years as a serial technology entrepreneur and business executive, “EnforceAir is a surgical solution. It will affect only the single drone that is posing a risk. Even nearby drones will not feel any effect. Continuity prevails. EnforceAir will guide the drone to a safe place. It will not cause collateral damage by itself. And it will not let the pilot regain control.”
D-Fend Solutions offers a number of system configurations and platforms, tailored to multiple sectors, industries and use cases. Rapid-deployable configurations include vehicular, tactical, and stationary, for ground level, high altitude and long-range requirements.
“Our EnforceAir flagship system can be affixed to vehicles or ships, covertly if necessary, or set up as stationary deployments on low or high ground. The hardware is lightweight and compact, and can be rapidly taken apart, moved and reassembled in minutes,” explained Monsa.
In addition, to scale all this up in a coordinated way, the company’s Multi-Sensor Command & Control system (MSC2) empowers customers to manage multiple different EnforceAir deployment kits simultaneously and remotely from a single server. This allows organizations to protect large tracts of land from unauthorized drones and scale up fast, regardless of the operational requirement.
Operations in sensitive environments, in particular, require a surgical and innovative anti-drone defense. For this reason, high-tier government agencies, including military, federal law enforcement and homeland security bodies and major international airports worldwide, have deployed EnforceAir.
Last year, in Slovakia, during Pope Francis’ visit to the country, the Ministry of Interior of Slovakia employed D-Fend technology to protect the Pope, his retinue and attendees from the threat of rogue drones during multiple events from September 12-15, 2021. During one of these events, an open-air Holy Mass in Šaštín, a town that is home to the National Marian Shrine, from an suspicious do-it-yourself drone. The police decided against using jammers because they were concerned about halting media transmissions and disrupting security base stations surrounding the Pope’s address. Police used EnforceAir to fend off the rogue drone. The system sent the drone back to its original takeoff position, far away from the crowd, who was not even aware anything had happened. The event continued as planned without any issues.
Monsa explained, “Continuity is one of our goals. The real world papal protection incident provides a great illustration of how we achieve that goal.” He continued, “Ultimately, our vision is to enable a flourishing drone-powered society by providing innovative solutions that promote safety in the skies.”
Read more about D-Fend and counter drone technology:
- D-Fend on Dawn of Drones June 15: Counter Drone Technology and the Emerging Drone Society
- Preventing a Drone Attack on the Pope: D-Fend Solutions Deployed During Open Air Mass
- D-Fend Updates EnforceAir: Staying Out in Front of the Drone Threat
- The Super Bowl is a No Drone Zone: Hefty Penalties for Violating FAA TFR
Dawn M.K. Zoldi (Colonel, USAF, Retired) is a licensed attorney with 28 years of combined active duty military and federal civil service to the U.S. Air Force. She is the CEO & Founder of P3 Tech Consulting and an internationally recognized expert on uncrewed aircraft system law and policy. Zoldi contributes to several magazines and hosts popular tech podcasts. Zoldi is also an Adjunct Professor for two universities, at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In 2022, she received the Airwards People’s Choice Industry Impactor Award, was recognized as one of the Top Women to Follow on LinkedIn and listed in the eVTOL Insights 2022 PowerBook. For more information, follow her on social media and visit her website at: https://www.
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 penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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