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Head Office in North Bay

30 Roundel Road, North Bay, Ontario, P1C 0B8

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  • Monday - Friday08:00-16:30
  • Saturday - SundayClosed

Gatwick Airport disruption due to reported drone sightings

By admin In UAV News

20

Dec
2018

Gatwick Airport disruption due to reported drone sightings

As disruption continues at Gatwick Airport, our thoughts are with those passengers who are affected by the reported illegal use of at least one drone within the 1km restriction zone in effect, and the potential safety implications.

This news broke in the late evening of the 19th December (and is still ongoing at the time of publication), when a drone sighting caused dozens of flights to be diverted and departures being postponed or cancelled, for fears over a potential collision between landing or departing air traffic. Subsequent reports of additional sightings throughout the early hours of the morning of the 20th December are leading many to assume that these are the deliberate actions of a malicious person or persons.

Altitude Angel supports the responsible and legal use of drone flying: for fun, or for commercial purposes. Flying at an airport without authorisation poses a serious safety and security risk, potentially harming air traffic and the reputation of the law-abiding drone industry.

Sightings of drones at busy airports are not new and although it is important to remember that most drone users fly responsibly and safely, unfortunatel,y there are those who would try to use the technology to cause disruption or worse, harm.

The limited information available to us at the moment suggests that the use of at least one drone at Gatwick Airport can be considered at this time to be deliberate: the repeated sightings, extended flight time (indicating perhaps the drone operator was prepared with multiple batteries), and of course the very widespread media coverage which would make it difficult to claim the incursion was due to ignorance of the law.

The difficult truth is that there is very little the authorities can do to stop drones taking-off or being flown within sensitive areas, such as airports. We are often asked “why can’t a drone be shot down?”. Setting aside the obvious logistical issues of trying to shoot down a very small target with a very fast-moving object over distance – and remaining on target as the drone moves – only the military are authorised to shoot ballistic weaponry at aircraft, and for good reasons.

Electronic countermeasures are in their infancy and much needs to be done to understand their efficacy. Although “jamming” is a viable option in some cases, a truly ‘rogue’ entity is likely to fly the drone not by remote control radio signal, but instead to pre-program the drone with instructions that it executes using GPS and completely independently of a person on the ground. There would be nothing to “jam”.

Disrupting sensors on board the drone, however, is an area of some interest: a high-power directed radio energy system capable of disrupting sensitive components onboard which help the drone maintain stability might just cause it to land, or it might simply overload it and cause it to crash.

Electronic countermeasures are highly illegal today; the amount of radio energy emitted by them needs extensive testing particularly at areas such as airports which rely heavily on many different electronic sensing and communications capabilities: it would be terrible if the deployment of an electronic ‘weapon’ caused extensive additional disruption.

What about geo-fencing?

Databases embedded in control systems in drones are extremely effective in many scenarios and are standard on board most modern mass-produced drones. However, in some use cases for rogue operations, geo-fences can be rendered ineffective.

Won’t registration help?

It is possible, if the person flying the drone took the time to register. Unless it is a very modern, quite expensive drone, however, it’s unlikely to be detectable while it’s flying though, unless the airport has sophisticated sensing systems in place. And, one must consider the possibility that, if a person is intent on really doing harm with a drone, would he or she register anyway?

In the busier skies imagined of the future, registration may not help identify the rogue drone directly – but it may help indirectly. Imagine a scenario where there are ten drones operating within a few kilometres of the airport where nine are legal and authorised by the airport – a scenario many including airports are seeking to encourage, for example, for on-airfield plane or ‘runway’ inspections: knowing which nine will help authorities identify the one which isn’t, and then to mount a response.

So, what, then, can be done?

The answer starts with visibility.

At Gatwick Airport, as with all airports, safety is the main priority. A sighting effectively triggers a closure. The issue is about ongoing awareness: knowing when it is safe to resume normal airport operations after the initial event; how do the airport authorities know when the risk has passed?

Solutions do exist today which use sensors deployed around a perimeter to detect small moving objects, such as drones. There are sensors which use RADAR, optics (high-powered cameras) and radio-frequency detectors – even some which drone manufacturers provide which can detect the control signals emitted by the drone’s remote controller and can tell authorities precisely where the threat is.

No single sensor is capable of providing the full suite of capability that deploying multiple sensors will provide. However, widely regarded as the most practical is RADAR since it doesn’t rely on cooperation in any capacity by the drone pilot – or the detection of any of its control signals, which a truly malicious actor may simply disable.

On November 21st 2018, Altitude Angel and our partners successfully demonstrated a concept at Manchester Airport, which used data from multiple rogue-drone detection systems (from DJI, which works with control signals for its drones, and Dedrone, which ‘listens’ to any radio control signals), overlaying data from both systems onto a single ‘map’ used by the airport. When combined with a RADAR and optical detection systems around the perimeter, this technology gives airports a 360-degree view of drones in the vicinity – whether they are there legally or more likely, illegally.

An effective safety – and security – response therefore becomes much more likely, because the airport can direct authorities to the precise location of the ‘rogue’ drone (and maybe even it’s pilot, in certain circumstances), removing the danger much more quickly.

Until the precise circumstances are known about the Gatwick Airport drone incursions, it is premature and perhaps quite unhelpful to point out ways in which this might have been avoided. But the aviation industry was built on an amazing culture of learning from others; sharing knowledge and information.

In aviation, ‘situation awareness’ as it is known – the ability to ‘see’ everything around you – is known to help reduce risks considerably, and is a key principal of air traffic control, enabling better operating decisions to be made.

Giving Gatwick Airport – and others – the ability to see every drone around them (just as they do with air traffic) could mean that disruption from future closures is minimalised, and security responses can begin more swiftly and can be better targeted.

Published at Thu, 20 Dec 2018 11:50:32 +0000

{articles|100|campaign}GENIUS NY Round Three Finalists Announced

GENIUS NY, a business accelerator program at CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden, today announced the five finalists companies selected for its third round. These startup drone companies will participate in the year-long program and will compete for a total of $3 million in direct investment, with one grand prize of up to $1 million and four $500,000 awards.

“We are excited to welcome these latest innovative entrepreneurs to Central New York for Round Three of the GENIUS NY competition,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “This unique contest supports UAS startups in developing the next-generation technologies that will further support the burgeoning drone industry in the region.”

The five companies will move into The Tech Garden, in Syracuse, in January to begin competing for $3 million in investment. The companies were selected from a pool of more than 350 submissions. Finalists include teams with international and regional representation.

The five finalists selected for GENIUS NY 3.0 finalists are:

EagleHawk (Buffalo, NY): EagleHawk is a drone-powered technology company revolutionizing the way commercial roofs are inspected and managed. In just two years, EagleHawk has inspected over 500 buildings and 11 million square feet of rooftop and is helping customers detect unknown issues, mitigate risk, and reduce roof maintenance costs.

Vermeer (Brooklyn, NY): Vermeer is an augmented reality drone solution that enables anyone to capture aerial photos, videos and data. A user can now design their aerial shot in an augmented reality environment and then send it to a drone to execute autonomously in the real world.

Civdrone (Israel): Civdrone develops fast, reliable and autonomous marking solutions on enterprise drones for the construction industry. Digitalizing and automating land surveying services will increase productivity and shorten time of construction while lowering its costs.

Sentient Blue (Italy): Sentient Blue develops efficient, more environmentally friendly micro gas turbine based power plants for use in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to increase flight endurance.

ResilienX (Syracuse, NY): ResilienX is focused on improving safety in the UAS traffic management ecosystem. Their products will increase system resilience and operational uptime by automating fault detection and contingency management, benefiting adopters through decreased expenditures in operations, regression testing and maintenance.

The year-long competition is the largest business accelerator competition for the UAS industry in the world. Previously, the program awarded three grand prizes of $1 million, $600,000, and $400,000 and three runner-up prizes of $250,000 each with an additional $250,000 available for follow-on funding. Doubling the investment for the finalist teams in this round will provide them with an even greater opportunity to succeed and grow their business in Central New York.

“These companies were selected from an incredibly competitive pool of applications,” said Rick Clonan, vice president of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at CenterState CEO. “This year’s applicant pool and high-growth finalists are a reflection of the success of prior rounds and the program’s overall impact on participating teams. As round three teams join the innovation ecosystem we have created at The Tech Garden, they too will benefit from a network of resources needed to rapidly grow their companies as previous participants have.”

Recent announcements by GENIUS NY teams demonstrate the quality of the program, which is funded by Empire State Development in a model similar to Buffalo’s highly successful 43North program. Teams from GENIUS NY round one and two continue to hit growth milestones and have attracted outside investments, made connections and established partnerships with local businesses, and have made hires or currently have openings.

“This region is committed to making the investments and providing the resources these companies need to scale in the region,” said Rob Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “We have seen the impact this targeted ecosystem has had on accelerating the growth of GENIUS NY companies to date, and how those successes have in turn supported regional efforts to lead the unmanned systems industry.”

The advancement of the GENIUS NY program builds on the progress of CNY Rising, the region’s award-winning strategic plan to generate robust economic growth and community development.

Throughout the program, teams will engage with community leaders, mentors, and advisors from leading companies in Central New York while also participating in tourism activities. The goal is to encourage all participants to put down roots and stay in the region following the conclusion of the program.

“We are excited to welcome these teams to grow their businesses in Onondaga County. We know that local businesses are the backbone of our economy and help create a more vibrant community,” said Onondaga County Executive, J. Ryan McMahon. “We are committed to providing them the support they need and showcasing why Central New York is an exceptional place to grow a business.”

“GENIUS NY has served as a catalyst for growth at Oneida County’s UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport by fostering new business innovation in the Central New York UAS Corridor,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “I’m sure this year’s round of finalists will continue in that tradition, and provide a huge benefit to not only the county and our partners at CenterState CEO, but all of New York State, as we work together to move the industry forward.”

All five of the round three teams will begin the program in January focused on enhancing their business plan, and will pitch their technologies at an event in April to a panel of judges and audience of more than 250 people, where the grand prize and runner up awards will be decided and announced.

http://www.geniusny.com

Published at Thu, 20 Dec 2018 11:41:33 +0000

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