Commercial Drones and its Benefits

Drones may be exceedingly dangerous when flights don’t go as planned, with rotors spinning and airframes flying through the air. There has been much wailing about the FAA’s cautious approach to commercial drone policy adoption, but the truth is that there are actual risks, notably from criminal actors deploying low-cost GPS jammers.

As commercial drone deliveries become a reality and attacks become more frequent around the world, jamming, which has long been a threat to military assets, is also becoming a commercial concern. Drones used for commercial, law enforcement, and defense purposes are now vulnerable to this threat.

During a coordinated light show in Hong Kong in 2018, a jamming device caused 46 drones to fall out of the sky. A total of HK$1 million was spent on property damage and hardware loss. Nearly all drones have safety systems that allow them to return home or to a secure landing spot in the event of a disruption. Those features, however, were not successful in Hong Kong.

GPS signals are critical to drones and the services they deliver. Even though the drone has backup procedures (INS/OPS), GPS references are still required for location, navigation, and stabilization. As a result, GPS attacks are the most straightforward way to bring a drone down and put people and property in danger.

Commercial drone solutions are on their way, which is great news. This type of low-power, small-form-factor shielding technology is a critical step toward commercial drone deployment. It’s a good bet that in the next few days, the issue of GPS jamming and spoofing will garner more attention. Fortunately, it appears that developers are becoming more aware of solutions that can help them resist the growing threat. As drone jammers are coming, more people will feel safe and secured against UAVs no matter what happens.

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