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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  • Guys we need to develop some dead reckoning stat :)

  • @Emery: No. That's not how radio waves work, nor is that how aluminum foil works. Anything you do to shield your drone from RF based "weapons" will also shield it from legitimate control and GPS.  

    @Simonl: Yes, and many of them do. But that's whole point. There is no way the person firing this weapon could possibly know what the drone is programmed to do or not do. Arducopter switches to Alt Hold when the GPS fails. So it will just blow away with the wind and crash into whatever happens to be in the way.  Or it could end up just making the GPS wrong, and it will again fly off randomly and crash into whatever is in the way.  Or it could engage a land mode, and crash into whatever is below it.

    All the GPS failure modes rely on the pilot taking manual control from the ground.  This device would also block manual control. So it is going to simply crash into whatever is in the way.  It will not gently land like their bullshit fake video shows.  This device will randomly crash the drone, which is the worst thing you can do.  And there is nothing you can code to prevent that from happening.

  • just a thought, its using radio waves- well aluminum foil is a great way of dispersing radio waves. could we just use foil to disperse or scatter the radio waves?

  • Yup, certainly sounds like a bad idea. But, hey, shouldn't drone code cope gracefully with loss of major functions like GPS? Isn't that the code writers' responsibility? (Just putting it out there!)

  • I'm not near as knowledgeable about most of this stuff as some of you. But I do know this sounds like a bad idea. It looks like it would present a laundry list of potential Unknowns. And what about range and collateral effect?
  • I doubt they are doing GPS spoofing, as the equipment required for that is very sophisticated, and a DJI phantom would not descend as depicted given that it shows all red the error code for loss of GPS lock, I agree with Pedals I think the most likely scenario is some undefined behavior that would be dangerous and far worse than just pursuing the operator. This seems like a bad idea all around.

  • The information released about the Battelle DroneDefender likely contains less than the full, honest story. There's no advantage to Battelle to divulge all its secrets. 

    The video shows the drone being slowly lowered to the ground while pointing the directional antenna. Remotely controlling the drone's altitude like this would be best achieved by GPS spoofing. Recall that this is believed to be how the Iranians brought down an American military drone.

    I can imagine the device using its elevation angle to adjust the GPS spoofing altitude as it is lowered to the ground. 

    Spoofing attack
    In the context of information security, and especially network security, a spoofing attack is a situation in which a person or program successfully i…
  • Does anyone read?  The device is intended to jam BOTH the GPS and the control.  It's basically a broadband highly directional RF **EDIT** cannon.  Wyatt does not understand how RF works if he thinks "write some code to ignore the jamming" is plausible.  That's not how it works.  The intent of this device is to block the GPS and control frequencies.  This cuts off it's ability to operate manually and autonomously.  

    The problem, and it's a BIG problem, is how will the drone react to this.  It might try to RTL and fly off in a random direction due to GPS interference. It might reaquire GPS and successfully RTL, or restart the mission.  It might disable the GPS and just drift off with the wind.  It might try to auto-land immediately and crash into whatever is under it. It might just randomly careen into something or someone.  I think the LEAST LIKELY outcome is this bullshit they show in the video where it magically just lands perfectly.

    As such, this device is very likely to cause more problems, more injuries, and more damage than if left well enough alone.  

  • With regard to legality, Battelle manages or co-manages several DOE installations including Oak Ridge National Laboratory (where "The Bomb" was developed). Laws regarding blocking radio transmissions (Cell etc...) kind of don't exist there (been there, can't remember the weird message my phone displayed while I was on site, do remember the MPs at the gate as it was a year or two after 9/11).

  • gps operates in high frequencies.. what i meant was even if the gps is interupted.. its a waste to use the weapon.. because other things exsist you would have to use as well... other things being visual tracking via camera.. laser target designation with a beam... and sonar...

    if all you do is affecet the drones gps.. its useless 50 year old tech would still hit its target....

    what they need to do is jam the transmitter function so you cant tell it where to go what to shoot etc those are  now in the ghz range.. but then again someone if they now know the wepaon is for gps modify and go back to ham freqs i mean you need a weapon thats broad based not just sent on one thing.. i mean besides if someone wanted to they can go back to ww 1 weapon tech fire and hope it hits i mean this device is pointless as a weapon.. what if a airplane is flying near and this thing hits it the liability factor... to me its just    a waste of resources and money spent on an idea that some student had...

    use a laser to shoot it down like the military has if they can shoot a missle down at 5 times the speed of sound with a laser now they can do it pssst the white house has such a system in place...they could use radar to manually target the dji inspire or what ever and blow it up... just seems silly to me... they have cell phone jammers use one of those and make a net around your building jam 72 mz up to gps signals if your that scared

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