How do flying spy cameras work

Deutsche Telekom builds drone shield

Whether it's drug smuggling into prison, data theft by radio or flying spy cameras - with a new offer, Deutsche Telekom wants to give authorities and corporations a means against undesired use of drones. To do this, the group relies on a whole range of technologies from different manufacturers.

Kassel startup wins elimination process

The new system was presented on Wednesday in Frankfurt am Main at Telekom's Magenta Security Conference. The new drone protection screen is a combination of different techniques with which multicopter drones can be detected and even brought to a targeted landing.

After a four-day elimination test among 20 providers at an airport, Telekom selected the startup Dedrone as the lead partner for the new offer. The company, based in Kassel, has already equipped 150 properties worldwide with drone protection technology. The demand is great, emphasized managing director Jörg Lamprecht in Frankfurt.

His company has equipped a sports stadium in New York with its drone detectors and is now discovering three unauthorized flights a day. These drones are still probably only owned by amateur pilots, but serious threats are conceivable. Air traffic is likely to increase: 600,000 remote-controlled drones are currently being sold worldwide every month.

Radar, cameras, microphones

The solution relies on a combination of different techniques. 4K cameras keep an eye out for drones and can detect multicopters from up to a kilometer away. The evaluation of the radio signals serves as a second line of defense: The sensors try to pick up the radio signals that are used to control the drones. The rotor noise is to serve as the third signal: highly sensitive microphones listen to the typical noise and can, for example, distinguish between harmless birds and unwanted aircraft. Frequency scanners from Rohde & Schwarz are used, as well as microphone arrays from Squarehead, radar devices from Robin Radar Systems and radio jammers from HP Wüst.

If the drones have been discovered, the buyer of the drone shield can take countermeasures if necessary. The data traffic of the drone is to be disturbed by means of a radio jammer and the aircraft is to be forced to land. The technicians want to take advantage of the emergency programs of the commercially available drones. If the radio signal is lost, they either initiate a controlled landing or try to return to their starting point. Using the multisensors, the Telekom drone screen should determine the make of the aircraft and adapt the countermeasures.

Great demand

Dirk Ofen, head of the new security division at Telekom, is already speaking of great demand. There are many companies who fear industrial espionage - for example, car manufacturers want to protect their test tracks from the cameras of the competition. Authorities such as embassies and prisons are also interested in the technology to prevent attacks, espionage and drug smuggling. However, the technology does not come cheap: Oven named 30,000 euros as an entry-level price.

For this, Telekom wants to take over the operation of the drone defense at the customer's request. The output of the sensors could be conveniently recorded in a control center - in addition to the current position of a drone, the course of a drone is also interpolated in order to predict whether critical areas are at risk. (axk)

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