ArGUS - Defense against threats from unmanned aerial systems


Drones are not only used for useful inspection and transport tasks or as toys, they can also become a danger if misused. Potentially endangered are, among others, large events such as concerts, festivals, demonstrations or sporting events. Critical infrastructures include train stations, airports and much more. The number of authorized UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) - such as surveillance drones and parcel delivery systems - that perform their services within defined flight corridors is also on the rise. A distinction between these authorized and unauthorized UAS is therefore an important prerequisite for situation assessment.

The time aspect in the initiation of defense and protection measures is significant and thus represents one of the main focuses of research. Ideally, the intervention takes place already in the preparation phase of the attack. Thus, the chance of a timely defense is very high and the possible effects of a danger as well as undesired side effects of measures are still very low.

Project goals and procedure

The German government is therefore funding a joint project launched in March 2017 and coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies, and Image Exploitation IOSB. The three-year project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of its security research program aims to counter this threat. The solution is called "ArGUS" and stands for assistance system for situation-conscious defense against UAS threats. 

The "ArGUS" system detects unmanned air systems and generates deployment proposals for legally secured countermeasures. This enables emergency forces to recognize the threat at a very early stage, estimate the effects and, after a short reaction time, arrive at an optimal decision regarding suitable countermeasures.

Situation analysis is the most important component when it comes to protecting people and infrastructure. The information basis required for this situation analysis is obtained in conformity with the law. Simulation and prognosis of the possible further development of the present scenario help to decide on the right reaction. All available information must be taken into account.

Tagesthemen (major German TV news program): Drohnen als tödliche Gefahr - Drones as a lethal danger.

Project partners

  • Atos IT Solutions and Services GmbH
  • European Aviation Security Center
  • Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation
  • Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz
  • Securiton GmbH
  • Technische Hochschule Deggendorf
  • VfS ­ Forum für Sicherheit GmbH

More on UAV/UAS

The detection of mini-drones, assessment of potential hazards and countermeasures are also the subject of other Fraunhofer IOSB research projects:


More information

Project name: ArGUS - Assistance system for situation aware prevention of hazards from UAS.

Project duration: 2017-2020

The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.