Detecting and defending against mini drones

2016 -

© Fraunhofer IOSB

Miniature drones can be useful or a potential danger. Affordable, easy to operate and fast, these unmanned aerial systems (UASs) can endanger air traffic near airports. Attack scenarios are not far-fetched. It is high time to develop detection and defense systems that can reliably detect UASs to allow security forces to make informed decisions with sufficient reaction time.

Fraunhofer IOSB is pursuing various projects to investigate issues relating to detection, classification and potential defense measures. The institute has award-winning AI-based algorithms to distinguish between drones and birds in video images in real time. Since 2016, we have invested our own resources towards developing MODEAS, a modular drone detection and assistance system.

Its distributed sensor stations detect flying objects in a multimodal way, for example, by using radar, detection of remote-control radio signals, high-resolution panoramic sensors, tele-zoom cameras and laser rangefinders. A stationary or mobile control center processes all data and presents it in a user-friendly format. The system references a database containing many drone models to identify the device. It also derives other parameters such as the payload from sensor data. This enables security forces to properly assess the threat potential and opt for the right response.