If you keep an eye on a certain variety of technology headlines, you might have noticed that an interesting trend is developing. Drone tech is, evidently, yesterday's news. Anti-drone technology is where it's at.
The BBC is reporting that a consortium of three British companies has developed a kind of freeze ray strategy for neutralizing unwanted drones, or UAVs, in a protected area of air space.
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The Anti-UAV Defense System, or AUDS, works by overloading the drone's communications systems with high-powered radio signals. Drone pilots control their aircraft using specific frequency bands, and the AUDS system essentially swamps those bands with an overriding narrowcast projected by directional antennae.
When the scramble signal overrides the control signal, the UAV typically freezes in mid-air - most commercial drones are programmed to hover in place when control signals are interrupted. The AUDS operator can then jam the drone intermittently, or simply keep the UAV trapped in mid-air until the battery runs out.
Of course, to scramble the drone's communications, the AUDS operator needs to find and target it first. To that end, the system uses cameras with thermal imaging features to target the drone visually, in daylight or darkness. The AUDS system was developed by Enterprise Control Systems, in partnership with Blighter Surveillance Systems and Chess Dynamics.
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Meanwhile, stateside, the U.S. Army recently tested out an anti-drone system with a more traditional - that is to say, ballistic - approach. Engineers at the Army Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) in New Jersey successfully shot down two drones by way of steerable 50 mm "smart round" guns.