A technology is being tested by Vodafone that would be enable authorities to conduct tracking and controlling of drones so that they are able to prevent aircraft accidents from happening and prevent terrorist attacks on them and prevent incursions into “no-fly zones” like a prison or a hospital airspace.
In recent years, a wide range of security experts have predicted that drones could be used by terrorists for carrying out terrorist attacks by customizing the drones to carry a small quantity of lethal explosives and fly drones into targets. It is at this juncture that the trial by Vodafone is being carried out and therefore Assumes importance and has attracted attention. It has also been warned that criminals can also make use of drones for criminal activities like the smuggling and delivery of banned substances inside prisons.
For the purpose of detection of commercial drones that are too tiny for detection and identification on a radar, a new technology is being tested by Vodafone in Spain and Germany. This technology would allow detection of such smaller drones in much a similar manner that functions in an air-traffic control works.
It is from next year that the use of drones on a commercial basis on a large scale is expected to begin in Europe and therefore it is being attempted by authorities and aviation regulators to make the skies much safer for before that stage.
On the other hand, Amazon is keen to further expand its Prime Air services and to this end the largest online retailer in the world claimed to have successfully delivered products for the first time using a drone. The test was conducted in Cambridge and the drone payload included a TV streaming stick and bag of popcorn which were delivered to a garden.
The European Aviation Safety Agency which is responsible for the development of rules and regulations for making suet that adequate safety is achieved in Europe for safe flight of commercial drones, is partnering with Vodafone on this technology.
“This will help to ensure the skies stay safe as drones become ubiquitous, everywhere,” said Johan Wibergh, group chief technology officer at Vodafone.
The technology being tested by Vodafone is not one that could be used for monitoring of smaller consumer drones but is meant for the larger ones that are being developed for commercial purposes. The 4G network of Vodafone was found to be able to successfully control and monitor a drone weighing 2 kg and has a wingspan of 1.3 meters during tests carried out at preliminary stages of the trial by Vodafone last year in Seville, Spain.
The results of the trial shows that real-time tracking of each drone is possible by the technology where the accuracy is within 50 metres.
It is hoped that by 2019, the technology can be used commercially.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)