3D Robotics

Anti-drone tech jams GPS

The Drone Defender directionally blocks GPS signals, on the assumption that the drone will land when it loses GPS (which is the case with 3DR and DJI products, but can be disabled)

From Popular Science:

The Battelle DroneDefender is a rifle made for electronic warfare, as first reported by Motherboard. The gun looks like a hodgepodge of science fiction props strapped together. Despite its appearance, it’s not made to fire any projectile. Instead, the DroneDefender works by jamming the communications of commercial drones, causing them to lose control and, ideally, land.

The DroneDefender s weighs less than 10 pounds and can be mounted on any existing weapon with a picatinny rail—a fairly standard mount found on military rifles.

The attachment jams GPS signals, as well as radio signals normally reserved for industrial, scientific, and medical radio communications (the ISM band). It’s primary targets are small commercial drones flown in places the federal government doesn’t want them to be: the radio bands it uses to disrupt drone signals are restricted, so this isn’t a product for everyday consumers annoyed by their neighbors quadcopter. Not to mention the fact that currently, the cost hasn't been publicized.

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  • The video is staged bull. That thing didn't magically lead a Phantom to a safe landing. That is all sales marketing blabbering. That is nothing more than an RF jamming device shaped like a rifle. There is no way it doesn't interfere with other aircraft. Period.
  • There's a lot of money and effort being devoted to anti-drone technology by the government and private industry at the moment. The government's obvious concern is being defenseless and unaware of drone or drones flying nearby. Drone incidents near the white house and the national mall certainly feed into those concerns, as well as the drone that crash landed just feet from Chancellor Angela Merkel. This has obviously raised major alarm bells -- so big money is flowing into R&D. 

    In any event, you can be sure that many sophisticated technologies are being developed to identify, track and neutralize drones. The DroneDefender is likely much more sophisticated than a simple frequency jammer, imo. The first slide in the video even says that the DroneDefender is designed "to defend airspace against UAS without compromising safety or risking collateral damage." This implies that device is designed to take-over control of the drone rather by simply jamming communications and letting it continue to fly while dangerously out of control. 

    The video also shows 2 drones being brought to the ground in a controlled manner. That is likely DroneDefender's main feature. GPS spoofing is my guess at how they can safely do this. 

    Hopefully we'll know more about the technology DroneDefender is using some day. For now, they seem to keeping it under wraps. 

  • Hi, I think you replied to my cell phone comment, that I erased after I read the article, and saw it said it would likely only be available to government agencies, due to the frequencies it uses. 
    And I guess we all know these days, the government doesn't need to follow their own laws because there's no one to hold them accountable..

  • Jamming any frequency is illegal. It's not that jamming cell phones is illegal. It's jamming anything is illegal.  That's a whole other issue with this device.  Besides creating an unpredictable crash, it is completely illegal in the United States.

  • Marco, are you suggesting using the IMU for navigation?  Is i robust enough on a typical small drone for intertial navigation?

  • Developer

    With a modified APM code is very simple cheat this "defender", if i've the cpu, IMU and barometer (all working) i can cheat the system when i want... ;-)
    This DroneDefender it works with all the closed commercial product like DJI, ZeroTech, etc., but not with a modified APM code.

  • Speed and position comes from the GPS. No GPS, no speed, no autonomous flight.
  • @Pedals2paddles one final notion then, purely hypothetical of course- what about full autonomy operating off of a program that measured way points using time and speed pre-programmed? not relying on gps or radio frequencies....

  • Return to home doesn't work if the GPS is jammed. Any other action is arbitrary and unsafe no matter what.
  • @Pedals2paddles- what about a return home function, or an auto climb function? some maneuver to get it away from the RF jamming?

This reply was deleted.