Lucas Le Bell invited at #StartupandCo to showcase
#CerbAir recent success story

On Air: Cerbair’s CEO invited at France’s first business news channel.

CerbAir offers complete Anti-Drone solutions to secure sensitive sites and events against malicious drone use. With a number of detection and countermeasure systems already installed around the World, the French leader in Anti-Drone solutions announced the conclusion of a 5.5 million € round of financing.

Last February 25, Sébastien Couasnon, anchor at BFMBusiness, decrypted the recent fundraising and the strategy to develop systems against malevolent drones with Lucas Le Bell, co-founder of CerbAir with Olivier Le Blainvaux in 2015.

In this short abstract, you’ll learn :

    • how we can detect, identify and neutralize malicious drones.
    • it is not a bullet proof technology.
    • CerbAir’s experience on different business types from civilian to army and police.

 

Visit our YouTube channel and enable the english subtitles with the gear icon (bottom right).

 

CerbAir is a French defense and security company that was launched in 2015 after the increasing number of drone incidents entailed the need to protect all sensitive sites from this new airborne threat. Strongly convinced that air space security is a shared concern, CerbAir offers the most cost-effective solutions on the market.

 

More about BFM Business

BFM Business is the 1st French channel of continuous economic and financial information, with exclusive interviews of CEOs, entrepreneurs, politicians, experts and economists covering all French and international news. This cross-channel news network has the strongest affinity on the market with decision-makers, top executives, SME managers and executives of large companies.

BFM Business offers essential daily meetings such as “Good Morning Business“, debates with “The Experts“, “Culture Geek” or “Tech&Co“.

Tech&Co became the “Rendez-vous” for digital news. Sébastien Couasnon, his columnists and guests comment on the major trends that are shaking up players in the economy and tech.

The television station transmits in 16:9 format on TNT in the Paris region (channel 24) and by satellite in Western Europe and North Africa via Eutelsat 5 West A, available through Fransat (51) and Orange TV (228), SFR (46), Bouygues (242), Free (347), Canal+ (108).

Press Release: CerbAir awarded at EIT Digital Challenge for being one of the “scaleups” who will change Europe.

Press Release: CerbAir awarded at EIT Digital Challenge for being one of the “scaleups” who will change Europe.

 

On November 7th, Lucas Le Bell, co-founder and CEO of CerbAir, received from Thomas Herlin the valuable prize of EIT Digital, an EU funded European innovation network More than 279 scaleups were competing for the most prestigious competition of the European deep tech. Since 2014, the EIT Digital has distinguished the expertise of European companies from start-up to scaleup. It focuses on encouraging companies that will have an impact on the future of Europe.

At the end of a competition gathering candidates from 33 different countries, CerbAir won the first prize in the “Digital Cities” category. An award also accompanied by a grant and a support in development.

This is not your usual competition where just the winners count,” states Chahab Nastar, Chief Innovation Officer at EIT Digital. “The 25 finalists have been carefully selected; they are all winners in the sense that they all have evidence of growth potential. The juries saw tremendous qualities in the 10 companies that came on top. We now welcome them into the EIT Digital Accelerator and will give them dedicated pan European support for customer acquisition and fundraising. We want them to become large dominant companies in their respective markets” he adds.

I am deeply proud for CerbAir and our team,” says Lucas Le Bell co-founder. “This award also recognize the support of our investors such as MBDA (European missile represented by Denis Gardin), Jean-Michel Aulas through his family office and Technofounders, the French studio startup who helped launch CerbAir,” he recalls.

“We founded CerbAir in 2015 but the production of our radiofrequency (RF) anti-drone solutions was only initiated in 2017. In two years, what a long way!” recalls Lucas Le Bell, graduated from Management School of Lyon. “The prize awarded by the EIT Digital will allow us to access new markets european wide. Our solutions are already implemented with the army and the police operational teams. The support of EIT Digital will allow us to strengthen our position in the institutional and civil sectors,” he comments.

 

About EIT Digital:

EIT Digital aims at global impact through European innovation fueled by entrepreneurial talent and digital technology. EIT Digital strengthens Europe’s position in the digital world by delivering breakthrough digital innovations to the market and breeding entrepreneurial talent for economic growth and improved quality of life. EIT Digital helps business and entrepreneurs to be at the frontier of digital innovation by providing them with technology, talent, and growth support.

EIT Digital is a leading European digital innovation and entrepreneurial education organization driving Europe’s digital transformation. Its way of working embodies the future of innovation through a pan-European ecosystem of over 200 top European corporations, SMEs, startups, universities and research institutes, where students, researchers, engineers, business developers and entrepreneurs collaborate in an open innovation setting. This pan-European ecosystem is located in Amsterdam, Berlin, Braga, Budapest, Brussels, Eindhoven, Edinburgh, Helsinki, London, Madrid, Milano, Munich, Nice, Paris, Rennes, Stockholm, Trento, and San Francisco.

About CerbAir:

CerbAir is the French leader in CUAS (anti-drone) detection and neutralization solutions. CerbAir’s DroneWatch is a combination of scalable, drone detection hardware and of software powered by proprietary algorithms which allow security administrators to detect, characterize and neutralize rogue drones and locate their pilots from the moment the drone remote control is switched on. CerbAir’s technology has assured airspace security and assisted in rogue pilot apprehension at a number of high-profile events including major music festivals in Europe and North America, and over critical infrastructure such as airports, administrative structures and correctional facilities in countries around the globe. CerbAir has earned the trust of major corporate and institutional players like various Ministries of Defense and Ministries of Interior and recently collaborated with the elite French police unit RAID during the 2019 D-Day Commemorations held in Normandy, France. To learn more about CerbAir, visit our homepage: www.cerbair.com

 

In the picture, Lucas Le Bell (Co-founder and CEO), Sébastien Wuidart (CFO)

Press Contact:

Philippe Rouin

VP Marketing

Philippe.rouin@cerbair.com / +33 (0)6 95536655

The Trouble(s) with DJI’s Aeroscope

A love and hate relationship between the USA and China.

DJI is the world’s largest manufacturer of civilian drones and its products can be found in a wide variety of recreational and commercial settings. Given the ubiquity of DJI drones, their ease of use and affordability, many governments and police entities around the world now employ them in their day-to-day operations.

In October 2017, following a series of drone-related incidents, the Chinese drone giant released a drone detection and tracking system called Aeroscope designed to allow security administrators to spot errant or hostile DJI UAS in their airspace. Aeroscope has been adopted at a few major airports and is seen by some as an answer to a growing drone threat to air traffic. But, Aeroscope comes with some serious issues of its own.

Risky Investment?

Tensions have been rising between the United States and DJI’s home country of China and US officials have become increasingly fearful of Chinese-made devices potentially spying on American communications and critical infrastructure and transferring information back to China. 

In May 2019, President Trump signed an executive order allowing the US government to ban the importation or use at sensitive sites of flagged Chinese tech, declaring a “national emergency” over alleged attempts to exploit vulnerabilities in American IT and communication systems for spying purposes. Huawei’s 5G project has already been targeted for suppression by the US government and various US allies dropped the technology under American pressure. Could DJI and its products, including Aeroscope, be next?

The future looks ominous. Although the executive order singled no specific country or company out for punishment, it was widely interpreted as a swipe at China. Furthermore, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of the US Department of Homeland Security issued an alert on May 2019 that Chinese-made drones may pose a “potential risk to an organization’s information.” The alert continued, 

The United States government has strong concerns about any technology product that takes American data into the territory of an authoritarian state that permits its intelligence services to have unfettered access to that data or otherwise abuses that access…Those concerns apply with equal force to certain Chinese-made (unmanned aircraft systems)-connected devices capable of collecting and transferring potentially revealing data about their operations and the individuals and entities operating them, as China imposes unusually stringent obligations on its citizens to support national intelligence activities.”

Once again, no particular company was singled-out, but given that DJI drones account for around 80% of the US and Canada civilian drone market and that it maintains its headquarters and servers in Shenzhen, China,  DJI is the most likely target. DJI has vigorously denied any involvement in espionage and taken steps to relocate some of its operations to North America, but among US officials a heavy cloud of suspicion hangs over the company.

If the Department of Homeland Security or President Trump decides to crack down on DJI technology, use of Aeroscope, particularly at sensitive sites in American territory such as airports, seaports or military infrastructure may become impossible. And the threat isn’t limited only to the United States. As illustrated by the case of Huawei, the American government has been known to put heavy pressure on its allies to divest themselves of technology it considers dangerous, meaning security administrators in Europe, the Americas, and Australia may be forced to throw out Aeroscope and other DJI products if they want to continue doing business with the US.

Although the threat of an American crackdown should weigh heavily on the mind of anyone thinking of integrating Aeroscope into their airspace security set up, Aeroscope presents a couple of other serious limitations that merit consideration.

CerbAir is proud to be the French leader in counter-drone solutions with proprietary technology developed in-house, within the European Union. That means there are no potential backdoors or diplomatic snags that could put your sensitive airspace, or your investment at risk.

The Other 20%

DJI drones account for about 80% of the civilian drones on the market today and its Aeroscope system is capable of picking up the vast majority of them. But what about the other 20%? In the case of a dedicated criminal or terrorist group, the solution is as simple as purchasing a non-DJI drone (of which there are dozens of models and companies to choose from) to slip through a security system and reach their target. Some adversaries, like the Syrian rebels who attacked a Russian airbase in early 2018, even build their own drones from scratch – making impossible for Aeroscope to catch.

At CerbAir, our drone detection solution detects the overwhelming majority of civilian drones on the market today (DJI and non-DJI alike), and our direction-finding feature allows a security administrator to locate the rogue drone pilot on top of his UAV. Police or security personnel can be immediately directed to the area and apprehend the offending pilot, eliminating the drone threat at its root and reducing the chances of repeated incidents. Gatwick’s nearly 3-day closure cost the airport authority and airlines nearly £17 million in lost revenue. Imagine the savings if the drone operator could have been taken out within the very first hour of the incident.

Is it worth the risk?

DJI and Aeroscope are household names and many people are attracted to the simplicity of adopting an Aeroscope anti-drone solution without really doing much research on the pros and cons. But, buyer beware. While Aeroscope is a fine product, the risks of a US crackdown on DJI and the limitations and vulnerabilities built into Aeroscope’s fabric might make it more trouble than you’ve bargained for. 

When looking for an anti-drone solution, ease of installation and use, as well as cost should all figure into your calculations. But a few other key features to consider include a CUAS solution that is:

  • Unlikely to get caught up in diplomatic struggles between superpowers,
  • Does not suffer from potential espionage and hacking risks (prefer in-house developed technology),
  • Detects nearly all drones on the market, not just one brand,

About CerbAir

CerbAir is a European leader in CUAS (anti-drone) detection and neutralization solutions. CerbAir’s DroneWatch is a combination of scalable, drone detection with our Hydra radio frequency sensor and our software powered by proprietary algorithms. Our anti-drone solutions allow security administrators to detect, characterize and neutralize* hostile drones and locate their pilots from the moment the drone remote control is switched on.

*The purchase or usage of jamming technologies only applies to public order, national defense or national security needs, or public law enforcement in accordance with local regulations.

Press Release: AirMap and CerbAir integrate UTM & CUAS

Press Release: AirMap and CerbAir collaborate to integrate UTM and Counter-UAS technologies for a comprehensive low-altitude airspace safety and security solution

Paris, 21 June 2019 – Paris Air Show – CerbAir, a leading European manufacturer of Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) solutions, and AirMap, the leading global airspace intelligence platform for drones, today announced their collaboration to provide integrated, comprehensive solutions for low-altitude airspace safety and security.

Following the worldwide growth in the use of UAS, or drones, there has been a significant increase in drone-related incursions reported at airports, sensitive sites and events. With today’s announcement, CerbAir and AirMap are responding to the urgent need to combine efficient UAS traffic management with reliable protection from rogue or accidental drone intrusions.

As an integrated system, the technology and services of CerbAir and AirMap produce a comprehensive suite of UAS management and detection solutions. AirMap’s UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Platform enables public authorities and airspace managers to deliver safety-critical services such as registration, airspace information, authorizations, and traffic management to UAS operators in low altitude airspace. CerbAir’s DroneWatch technology assures detection and characterization of unregistered drones, and its Direction Finding, Azimuth, and optional Electronic Countermeasure functions enable authorities to identify and immediately address unauthorized UAS and their pilots.

“UAS technology will only reach its full potential if low-altitude airspace is safe, secure, and managed. Unlocking the full economic and societal benefits that drones can provide requires management of registered and authorized drone operations as well as detection of unregistered or bad actors. Combining AirMap’s UTM technology and services with CerbAir’s C-UAS solutions is a natural fit,” said AirMap EVP of Global Business Development Larry Berkin.

“Recent UAS-related disturbances at major airports and intrusions over critical infrastructures or events, are vivid proof of the necessity of uniting C-UAS solutions with UAS traffic management. The combination of AirMap’s UTM and CerbAir’s DroneWatch systems is a much-needed advance in the field of airspace security,” said CerbAir CEO and Co-founder Lucas LeBell.

About AirMap: AirMap is the world’s leading airspace intelligence platform for UAS, otherwise known as drones. Industry developers, drone operators, and airspace managers rely on AirMap’s airspace intelligence and services to fly safely and communicate in low-altitude airspace. AirMap unlocks safe, efficient, and scalable operations by connecting the world’s drones to airspace authorities through an open platform of APIs and SDKs, with integrations by top drone manufacturers and solution providers including 3DR, DJI, DroneDeploy, Matternet, and senseFly. Deployed in the Czech Republic, Japan, Switzerland, the United States, and available in over 25 countries, AirMap leads the industry in delivering technology solutions for UAS Traffic Management (UTM) and U-space to enable safe and responsible drone operations at scale. To learn more about AirMap, visit: www.airmap.com

About CerbAir: CerbAir is the French leader in CUAS (anti-drone) detection and neutralization solutions. CerbAir’s DroneWatch is a combination of scalable, drone detection hardware and of software powered by proprietary algorithms which allow security administrators to detect, characterize and neutralize rogue drones and locate their pilots from the moment the drone remote control is switched on. CerbAir’s technology has assured airspace security and assisted in rogue pilot apprehension at a number of high-profile events including major music festivals in Europe and North America, and over critical infrastructure such as airports, administrative structures and correctional facilities in countries around the globe. CerbAir has earned the trust of major corporate and institutional players like various Ministries of Defense and Ministries of Interior and recently collaborated with the elite French police unit RAID during the 2019 D-Day Commemorations held in Normandy, France. To learn more about CerbAir, visit our homepage: www.cerbair.com

 

Press Contact

Philippe Rouin

VP Marketing

marketing@cerbair.com

+33 6 95 53 66 55

Drone Detection and Neutralization Technologies – Part I

With so many different anti-drone methods jostling for attention, understanding drone detection and neutralization can be an intimidating task. All the same, a handful of technologies have gradually risen above the rest and been adopted by the majority of airspace security providers. How do you choose the drone detection system that’s right for your airspace? The first step is knowing what’s out there. Let’s take a closer look in our two-part series.

Part I – Drone Detection Technologies

Radiofrequency

Radio Frequency or “RF” technology analyses the RF spectrum within the protected area searching for any form of communication between a drone and its remote control. In some cases, RF can even identify the drone make and model as well as the MAC address of WiFi drones.

How It Works

The vast majority of COTS (“Commercial Off The Shelf”) drones are connected to their remote controls over specific frequencies of the radio frequency spectrum. This means that the drones “talk” to their controllers in regular intervals – around 30 times per second – transmitting information such as altitude and position, battery life and video feeds. The remote “answers” back with pilot commands like “Go left”, “Go right”, “Accelerate”, etc.

The advantage of this style is that the signature or protocol of COTS drones is relatively distinct from other communications taking place on the same frequencies. This means that even in a busy urban environment with an enormous number of different signals flying through the air from laptops, smartphones and other devices, drone communication stands out as distinct “peaks” on a spectrum chart.

In a radio frequency-based drone detection set-up a passive radio frequency sensor captures activity on select frequencies of the RF spectrum and relays it to a computer where specialized algorithms compare it to a database of drone protocols. The computer detects and matches the telltale frequency peaks of drone/remote communication with a high amount of accuracy, sounding the alert as soon as the drone and its remote are activated. Given that different drones have different protocols, a good radio frequency detection system can in some cases even identify the flying device’s make and model.

What about more than one drone? Recent reports out of Syria and Iraq have raised concerns over “drone swarms” or groups of drones steered by a single pilot. With radio frequency detection, even if multiple drones intrude into airspace at a given moment, they can all be detected and tracked as long as they communicate with their pilot over the RF spectrum – which is the case with nearly every consumer-grade drone.

Drone and Pilot Geolocation

A particular advantage of RF technology is that certain sensor configurations allow an administrator to discover and track the location of both the drone and its pilot. Given the restrictions placed on drone interception methods, apprehension of the pilot is probably the safest, least complicated and most effective method of neutralizing drone threats at their source.

Nobody’s Perfect

Despite all the advantages of a radio frequency anti-drone solution, like any technology it has its limitations. Autonomous drones pose perhaps the biggest challenge to an RF-based system since an utter lack of communication between the drone and its controller would eliminate all opportunities to detect it on the spectrum.

But a truly autonomous attack – involving a drone able to navigate by GNSS without even sending back its video stream or telemetry information, spontaneously adapting to changes in the environment and avoiding unexpected obstacles – is extremely complex to orchestrate and therefore unlikely. Barring any sudden technological breakthroughs, RF-piloted drones are likely to remain the device of choice for the majority of operators for the foreseeable future.

  • Pros: Very cost-efficient: drone and pilot localization, drone make and model identification, detection beyond 2km in optimal conditions, passive technology -no interferences-, multiple drone detection.
  • Cons: Does not detect fully autonomous drones. Ambient RF pollution may sometimes reduce effectiveness

Radar

Radar can provide effective detection of drone presence over a long range. It can be successfully paired with other technologies, such as RF or optics, to provide more thorough coverage if desired.

How It Works

A radar system has a transmitter that emits radio waves called radar signals that are either reflected back or scattered by objects they encounter. The distorted waves bounce back to the radar receiver where algorithms convert them into a visual on-screen format that gives an idea of encountered object’s shape, size and density.

Most airports use a mix of radars on the Long Range or “L” band and Short Range or S” band in their air traffic control operations. But since drones are far smaller than any airplane or helicopter, they require a different approach.  K and X Band radars are often used for low aerial surveillance, including drone detection, with X being preferable as its shorter wavelengths (8.0 to 12.0 GHz) provide higher level visibility and are more adapted to detecting small targets.

Pulse-Doppler Radar

An object moving closer or farther away from the radar transmitter creates a “Doppler Effect” – a distortion or bend in the radio wave. A Pulse-Doppler radar drone detection system emits periodic bursts of radio waves and measures the bends in the returning radar signal to estimate the distance, speed and characteristics of a detected object.

Drones however are mostly made of plastic which is invisible to radar and only their metal cameras, batteries and motors provide a platform for the radar signals to bounce off of. Here’s where Micro-Pulse Doppler, an even more precise system, comes in – emitting a series of pulses very close together to get a more accurate picture of the monitored target, a necessary feature when attempting to identify objects as tiny as a drone camera or motor (4)(5).

Where Radar Falls Short

Drones are smaller than manned aircraft and tend to fly close to the ground which makes them very difficult for all but the most specialized radar to detect (6). Such systems do exist, but they often present additional issues such as cost, high-false alarm rate and potential interference (7):

– Cost – The most effective drone detection radar systems are more specialized X band Micro-Pulse Doppler models. The initial outlay can be quite costly for a security administrator. But other costs are a result of the very nature of radar. Since it is an “active” or emitting detection technology, the only way for it to work is to be constantly on. Thus, it consumes considerably more energy than a passive system. This also means that radar coverage can knocked out completely if its power supply is disabled by weather, sabotage or malfunction.

– False Alarm Rates – Due to their comparable size and flying patterns, birds tend to create a lot of false alarms when entering the radar coverage.

Potential Interference – Radar’s active nature and the fact that some communications use the same frequencies may mean unintended interference with local broadcasts and the need to obtain a license to operate the system

  • Pros: Constant coverage. Drone tracking. Multiple drone detection
  • Cons: High false alarm rates. Cannot detect nano drones. Struggles to detect micro drones. Can interfere with ambient communications. Can require authorizations from local authorities.

Optics (Camera)

Optics allow visual and/or infrared thermal imaging detection and characterization of approaching drones and drone payloads. Like radar, optics can be successfully combined with RF technology to provide more thorough coverage.

How It Works

Optic detection uses cameras to spot intruding drones. The cameras can be divided into several types including standard visual security cameras, but Electro-Optic Infrared Thermal Imaging (EO/IR) cameras are the most commonly employed for CUAS. They work by using mid-wave Infrared Radiation (MWIR) or long-wave Infrared Radiation (LW IR)) to scan the protected space and specialized algorithms to spot heat differences between drones and their environment.  

The plastic casing protecting a drone’s inner workings is not a heat conductor and the drone’s motor produces far less heat than one might imagine. However, the lithium battery that powers most consumer UAS generates a sufficient amount of heat to be spotted by a human operator using an infrared camera. Infrared cameras are useful from the moment there’s a difference in temperature and can “see” in total darkness without supplemental illumination, which makes them ideal to use at night or in missions where staying inconspicuous is imperative.

False Alarms and Weather Woes

The chief issues confronting an optic anti-drone system are high false alarm rates and weather-related issues. Cameras employing visual scans have shown consistent issues with false alarms due to the difficulty of differentiating between COTS drones and similarly sized airborne objects like birds, or even leaves. To avoid this, a very large database against which the algorithm can compare the detected object is necessary along with heavy processing power.

Some of these challenges may be mitigated by the complementary use of infrared thermal technology to ferret out drones by detecting their heat signatures. But thermal drone detection can be adversely affected by weather conditions. High humidity, rain or dense fog can severely reduce the effectiveness of infrared thermal drone detection as the infrared radiation is scattered by water particles in the air.

In one study, at a Fog Level of III (“visual detection at <300m” using the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) scale) both MWIR and LWIR hardly were virtually no better than visual detection alone. Thus, infrared thermal drone detection becomes problematic in Summer/Winter seasons in Temperate climates and practically year-round in Tropical, Oceanic or Subarctic climates which present high levels of ambient humidity and/or precipitation.

  • Pros: Visuals can be retained and used for forensic evidence of drone intrusions. Infrared cameras can “see” in the dark. Fewer restrictions for use
  • Cons: Without RD or radar to back it up, false alarm rates are high. Performance impacted by light and weather conditions. Difficulties detecting small drones

Acoustic

Acoustic UAV detection sensors pick up vibrations made by the propellers and motors of drones and can match them to a database of drone acoustic signatures.

How It Works

It works by capturing vibrations which drone propellers and motors emit during flight, on a preset noise frequency band. Composed of arrays of multiple microphones, the acoustic drone detection sensors transmit the vibration to a database which uses algorithms to calculate azimuth, thus locating the sector in which the drone is operating and sometimes even the make and model of the drone. If the system is fitted with a large enough and regularly updated database, a large majority of drone models on the market can be identified.

Acoustic technology is lightweight, easy to install and can be used in mountainous or highly urbanized areas where the presence of hillsides or tall buildings might block some other detection methods. It is entirely passive and thus doesn’t interfere with ambient communications and uses little in the way of electric power.

Urban & High-Noise Environments Present a Challenge

While acoustic detection technology’s advantages: lightweight, low power use and passive nature, make it an attractive option, it’s reliance on acoustic signatures is actually its biggest flaw. Drones are becoming ever more silent as the technology evolves and market pressures demand a quieter device (4). And a homemade drone, constructed from spare parts, may not show up at all since it might not match anything in the database.

In addition, acoustic sensors can often detect drones, particularly in noisy environments, only at relatively close distances (less than 1KM in many instances) (2), which isn’t enough to avert an attack or collision. Given these flaws, an acoustic system might be better suited as a backup to more reliable radiofrequency-based technologies like RF or Radar detection.

  • Pros: Can detect autonomous drones and provide azimuthal information on incoming drone direction. Easy installation. Low-energy use, passive technology
  • Cons: Sound database must be constantly updated to be effective. Drones are becoming more and more noiseless as technology advances and homemade drones may not show up. Detection range is often under 1km

No “Perfect” Solution

Each technology has pros and cons and our experience has taught us that there is no single “foolproof” choice. Nevertheless, it is possible to find an extremely effective solution and set-up adapted to your particular situation, particularly if you opt to mix complementary primary technologies (i.e. radio frequency for detection/geolocation and radar to detect autonomous drones) to assure maximum coverage and if the budget permits, secondary technologies (optic and acoustic) to fill in any potential gaps.

As a stand-alone option, nothing beats the effectiveness and cost-to-benefit ratio of radio frequency, which remains the solid foundation of the vast majority of drone detection solutions and for good reasons.

In the next article in this two-part series, CerbAir will explore the often complicated and sometimes surprising world of drone neutralization.

Want to Learn More?

The playing field for anti-drone technology is crowded and choosing the right system might seem impossibly intimidating. CerbAir has produced a white paper on the subject, complete with descriptions of drone detection and neutralization systems and a convenient checklist to help security administrators determine the best choice for their airspace. Download your copy of The Beginner’s Guide to Securing Sensitive Airspace with Anti-Drone Technology today to learn more.

Additionally, check out our article on qualities to look for in an anti-drone security provider here.

The Persian Gulf Region is Facing an Urgent Drone Threat

An unprecedented event in the Middle-East

Recent incidents in the Persian Gulf region are in the headlines and making a lot of people, from oil industry insiders and defense experts to beach-going tourists very nervous. Over the past few days, militants belonging to the rebel group known as Ansarullah or the “Houthis”, have stepped up their campaign to bring the 5-year long Yemen War to the skies over Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Incidents include:

  • 14 May: An armed drone penetrates Saudi airspace and damages an oil pipeline near Riyadh
  • 20 May: An unconfirmed missile launch on Mecca. Saudi officials claim they intercepted two missiles before they reached their targets in the city, but Houthis vehemently deny attacking on Islam’s holiest site
  • 21 May: An armed drone attack on Najran (Saudi Arabia) airport. The airport is principally civilian in nature but houses a military base
  • 22 May: A second armed drone attack on Najran. Saudi officials acknowledge the incident, but do not comment on the extent of damage or casualties

To these latest incidents, add unconfirmed reports of drone attacks on airports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 2018 and a deadly exploding UAV over a Yemeni military parade in January 2019 and it’s clear that the Gulf has a drone problem. It’s an issue that has the members of the Saudi-led Gulf Coalition, as well as farther-flung allies like the United States, worried. And it’s not likely to disappear anytime soon and the Yemen War drags on for another deadly year.

No End in Sight

A years-long conflict that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions, the war in Yemen is also notable for the rapid technological and strategical evolution of a formerly rag-tag band of fighters from the country’s poor northeast. In a relatively short time the Houthis have advanced from traditional ground battles to effective and deadly use of drone and missile technology, often calqued on low-cost military equipment supplied by their Iranian allies.

As noted in an earlier article on our blog, Houthis are reworking fairly simple Iranian Qasef 1/Ababil T model UAVs by adding commercially available GNSS systems and either adding locally made bomb-releasing materials or using the drones as kamikazes to ram targeted infrastructure. The drone attack carried out over al-Anand (Yemen) airforce base demonstrated with multiple casualties the effectiveness of this new technique.

Not facing a military drone threat, but having trouble with intrusive DJI-style consumer drones? Read on to find out how you can successfully deal with civilian drone threats.

Local Drone Threats

As a security administrator or a sensitive site, you probably aren’t facing a Houthi-style insurgency. But, don’t let your guard down just yet. Consumer drones, also known as “COTS” (Commercial Off The Shelf) drones, have been causing quite a few headaches themselves, often without so much a firing a shot.

So, what can you, the security administrator of an oil pipeline, airport or prison authority, or other sensitive site do to stop an intruding drone? As seen during the December 2018 Gatwick incident, the dangers associated with using firearms or radio frequency jamming to bring down a drone make these options nearly impossible in sensitive or urban environments.

And even if your security team manages to destroy the offending device, with drones becoming cheaper and cheaper, a motivated pilot could simply buy a new one and try again.

So, what to do?

Detect the Drone, Catch the Pilot

Simple right? Except when it’s not. Imagine your sensitive site sits in the middle of a dense urban area, surrounded by a tangle of dark alleyways, shuttered warehouses, and private residences. Add to that a thick hale of light, sound and radiofrequency pollution. Now, in that middle of all that mess, try spotting a tiny drone traveling at bursts of 25kph – 30kph (15mph – 20mph) using only your 5 senses. Nine times out of ten you won’t.

And what about the pilot? He could be hiding within a 7 kilometer (4 miles) radius, safely ensconced in any of those alleyways, warehouses or private houses that you don’t have the right to search. It seems grim – and it is! But there’s a solution.

Radio Frequency – Your Site Could Benefit From It

CerbAir uses radiofrequency sensors to detect drones at up to 2km in dense urban settings like the one described above. Our Hydra sensor is able to cut through the ambient noise and frequency pollution thanks to specialized algorithms that “listen” for the distinct communication style that exists between most drones and their remote controls. Even when you can’t see or hear a drone in your vicinity it’s giving off signals that can be detected and be used to flush out its location.

Those same signals can also lead you back to the remote control – and the person operating it. With pilot geolocation, a remote can be pinpointed to within +/- 10° of its actual position, making it much easier for local law enforcement to locate the pilot. Once apprehended, the threat itself is neutralized without the use of complicated and potentially dangerous drone interception techniques.

More Information

Want to know more about radio frequency and drone detection methods? Click here to download our White Paper on choosing the right anti-drone solution for your sensitive site.

Curious about drone regulations in the Gulf Region? Click here to download our overview of drone regulations in countries around the world, including the United Arab Emirates.

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Japan Further Restricts Drone Flights

Amendment of Aviation Act

Japan’s government moved to enact new legislation to restrict the operation of civilian drones over Japanese Self Defense and US military sites as well as over venues for the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2019 Rugby World Cup. Further restrictions reinforce ban the use of drones over or near airports.

According to the Japan Times, an English-language newspaper based in Tokyo, only drones providing coverage for and controlled by authorized media outlets will be allowed to operate over sports events. The Japanese government amended the existing law due to fears of terrorism, citing examples of drone attacks carried out in Venezuela, Syria, Yemen and most recently in Saudi Arabia.

This is not the first time that Japan has tightened its civil aviation laws in response to fears over drone-based attacks.

Japan first amended its Aviation Act and passed a new law in response to an incident in 2015. Yasuo Yamamoto, a 40-year-old environmental activist who was deeply opposed to the use of nuclear energy in Japan, flew a drone loaded with a small amount of radioactive sand over the Prime Minister’s office. The device landed on the roof and was not spotted by an employee until two weeks later, prompting the evacuation of the building.

Since then Japanese authorities have recorded a spike in illegal drone activity – often linked back to foreign tourists who are unaware of the rules.

Following the Yamamoto incident, Japan passed an amendment prohibiting drones, among other places in:

  • Areas where air traffic is expected, such as airports or military bases
  • In designated “Densely Inhabited Districts” (DIDs) or above gatherings of people
  • At a distance of closer than 30 meters (98ft) to people or objects or more than 150 meters (492ft) above ground level

Night time and beyond line of sight flights were also banned.

In 2016, further legislation specifically forbids UAV flights over “important facilities” including government buildings, embassies, and nuclear power facilities.

Tokyo has recently been rattled by a rash of drone sightings in restricted areas including two drone intrusions over the Imperial Palace, residence of the Emperor of Japan, and another sighting over the famous Shibuya street crossing.

Would you like to learn more about drone regulations in other parts of the world? Our white paper, A Survey of Drone Regulations Around the Globe is just what you’re looking for. Download your free copy today.

https://youtu.be/46sLXvuyA30
Click on the link above to download your copy

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Partner Profile: DRONE VOLT

Photo of Olivier Gualdoni, CEO of Drone Volt standing in front of a world map.
Olivier Gualdoni
Exec Chairman & CEO
of DRONE VOLT

DRONE VOLT is the leading French manufacturer of civilian drones for professional use. Founded in 2011, the company has gone from strength to strength, producing UAVs for the Construction, Security, Defense, Energy and Safety sectors. In 2019, DRONE VOLT expanded its airspace security offer by joining forces with CerbAir to provide its customers with a winning combination of surveillance drones and rogue drone detection. In our latest partner profile, Olivier Gualdoni, Executive Chairman & CEO of DRONE VOLT, answers questions on the company’s history, mission and its partnership with CerbAir. (Interview translated from French)

The Company

Can you tell us a little bit about DRONE VOLT: its history, its mission, and services?

DRONE VOLT’s expertise is in onboard artificial intelligence and professional civilian drone construction.

In 2011, DRONE VOLT started out by distributing civilian drones. We made our stock market debut in 2015 at the Paris Bourse and DRONE VOLT is a listed company on the Paris Euronext Growth Market.

In September 2017, we acquired Aerialtronics, a Dutch manufacturer.

Our Group offers a complete selection of professional drones which can carry loads of up to 20kg (44lbs). As a global partner, DRONE VOLT furnishes turnkey business solutions with added services and drone pilot training. DRONE VOLT is a supplier to administrative and industrial clients including the French Army, the French Defense Ministry, Engie, Total, Bouygues ES, ADP, the GTA, and international government agencies.

Our facilities are located mainly in the Benelux area, Canada, Denmark, the US, Switzerland, and Indonesia.

Personal: What path brought you into the security field?

After five years at the helm of the international group Cybergun S.A., which is a global leader in target practice, I joined DRONE VOLT as Director General and became CEO in 2017.

Security

What major security challenges do you foresee in your area of expertise in the next 5 years?

Mainly challenges related to legislation; the establishment of dedicated airspace corridors for drones to allow their flights to be managed as safely as possible.

Have you noted increases in illegal UAS (drone) activity in your country/region?

You could certainly say that there’s been an uptick in illegal drone flights and dangerous drone flights as well, but the trend is declining thanks to more and more restrictions and the efforts of the government.

In France, the administrative framework for professional drone pilots laid out by the DGAC (the French civil aviation authority) from 2012 onward is being constantly updated with new laws and decrees: the newest one on the 1st of March 2019 updated the zones where it’s forbidden to take aerial photos and put in place identification and registration procedures on Alphatango (DGAC website) for flying leisure and professional devices.

Nevertheless, rogue drone intrusions are still a threat to sensitive sites.

Partnership

How do CerbAir’s anti-drone solutions complement your security offer?

The security and protection of civilian and military sites which DRONE VOLT has made one of our commercial priorities requires adapted solutions.

CerbAir’s drone detection and neutralization capabilities, coupled with DRONE VOLT’s surveillance solutions, constitute a high-performance tool unequaled on the market that prevents drone intrusions into defined airspace.

Become a CerbAir partner and join us in the fight to make the skies safer for all. Click here for more information.

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A Round-the-World Look at Drone Regulations

When did “COTS” (Commercial Off The Shelf) or hobby drones first enter your consciousness? Can you even remember? Perhaps it was a holiday gift for a young family member or video filmed from spectacular heights and uploaded to YouTube. Though Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or “drones” have been around for decades, it’s only within the past 10 years or so that they’ve become widely available to the public. And with that increase availability came a number of unexpected security headaches.

The Threat Emerges

Before the democratization of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) technology in the early teens, there was almost no drone-specific legislation anywhere. Drones and their actions were mostly covered by rules governing civil aviation and lumped in with model airplanes and kites. A noticeable shift in the attitude of authorities towards consumer drones began around 2014 following a number of high-profile incidents involving drones:

  • October/November 2014Unidentified drones are spotted hovering over 13 separate nuclear power plants in France in what the Secretariat-General for National Defence and Security describes as an “organized provocation”
  • January 2015 – A drone ends up on the White House lawn in Washington, DC after the drunken pilot loses control of the device. The incident provokes a Secret Service investigation and raises concerns that the US capital could come under threat from consumer drones
  • April 2015 – A drone carrying a small amount of radioactive material is discovered on the roof of the offices of the Prime Minister of Japan. The pilot, who was protesting the use of nuclear energy in the country, received a suspended two-year sentence

Authorities Take Action

As complaints and reported incidents began piling up, taking many civil aviation authorities by surprise, a serious movement to bring drones and their operators under some sort of government control began taking shape. Although uneven, some common elements appear:

  • Limiting maximum flight altitude, often to around 120m (400ft)
  • Restricting drone operation to within line-of-sight and daytime hours
  • Banning unauthorized drone activity near airfields
  • Banning or restricting drone flights over populated areas
  • Prohibition of drone operation in disaster areas or near emergency operations

Still, drone regulations remain a subject of confusion for many including drone pilots themselves.

CerbAir’s Newest Anti-Drone Resource

That potential for confusion among pilots and security administrators alike was a major motivating factor when it came to determining the subject matter of our new White Paper. We wanted to give readers a global look at the current state of drone-related legislation: perhaps to inspire them to push for new ideas or reform in their own regions or simply to inform them of their rights and responsibilities under existing laws.

We’re excited to present our newest White Paper and anti-drone resource: A Survey of Drone Regulations Around the World. Within you’ll find an overview of drone-related legislation in five countries around the world as well as helpful links and resources to learn more.

Click here to get your copy.

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Partner Profile: Protec

When technology meets security expertise…

 

Founded in 2003 by Gil Ancelin, Groupe Protec is one of the French leaders in the human security and surveillance industry. It is represented in France through 6 subsidiaries dedicated to security services:

  • Protec Security

Assure security of large and small areas, crowded places, administrations, and industrial sites by providing highly skilled security agents, that are trained to intervene quickly and effectively in even the most sensitive contexts.

  • Protec Bodyguard

Personal security escorts with a choice of being accompanied by a man or a woman as a bodyguard.

  • Protec Telesurveillance

24/7 tele and video surveillance, intrusion and fire detection, alarm management, technical installation and access-point control

  •  Protec Service

Reception hosts, multi-domain mystery shoppers, reception service, barmaids

  • Horus Formation

Certified training center specialized in security professions.

Protect Security

Last year, the Groupe Protec made a great step ahead by creating a subsidiary dedicated to new technologies in the security and safety sector, Security Systems by Protec

 

In 2019, The Groupe Prote and CerbAir signed an agreement to join forces to offer our clients the ultimate in security technology and expertise. Security Systems by Protec provides a certified and comprehensive security offer that combines the strengths of a highly-trained staff with technology. CerbAir brings to the table its advanced radio-frequency based drone detection.

It is with great pride and pleasure that CerbAir announces its newest partnership with the Groupe Protec.