Drone detector alerts you to neighbourhood spies


Privacy is going to be more difficult to protect than ever in the drone-filled age.

Competitors, thieves, or even just your neighbours could be spying on your every move using a remote-controlled flying camera.

That's the kind of paranoia Domestic Drone Countermeasures (DDC) is hoping to tap into with its new personal drone detection system Kickstarter project - a black box that promises to go beep when a drone flies within 15 metres of its sensors.

"Drones are becoming more capable all the time and this is why it's alarming. They fly with payloads like still cameras, video cameras, infrared detectors, thermal detectors, among other things, and they are already being used for surveillance," DDC founder Amy Ciesielka said.

"Though there are legitimate uses for domestic drones, there is still concern about invasion of privacy and surveillance by various entities."

In the UK it is illegal to fly a drone within 50 metres of a structure even for recreation, while commercial use of drones has to be cleared by the Civil Aviation Authority.

But in the US personal drones are not regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration and can be flown around buildings and built-up areas.

In Hong Kong, all drone flights require approval from the Civil Aviation Department, but enthusiasts have been known to skirt laws with small hobby drones.

DDC has been working on the technology for more than a year and promises to warn users of personal drone snooping before it's too late. The kit cannot detect military drones as "they fly too high and are too sophisticated", according to the company.

The kit consists of three boxes - a primary command and control unit that connects via Wi-fi to the internet, and two sensors that are placed about the home.

If a drone is detected, the command and control unit sends a notification to the user's smartphone, tablet or computer, even while the user is away from home. The kit does not promise to actually block the drone's invasion of privacy, yet.

In April, Robert Knowles became the first person convicted in the UK for "dangerously" flying a drone.

A starter kit costs US$499 on Kickstarter, but as ever with crowd-funded projects, the system may not come to fruition.


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  • 15 mtrs .... BWAHAHA.

    If i wanted to spy on you i would use a drone with passive systems like just recording on board video. No transmitters on the craft. I could fly within 1 mtr and you would not know.

    Or i could sit 50 mtrs away and zoom in. Your systems would have no idea.

    This is a silly idea.

  • Because guns are always the answer. You the shoot the drone, someone else shoots at you because you are shooting at them. If only people with guns shot people with guns.

  • If I had a neighbor with one of these, I couldn't resist the temptation to record the noise from my quad and play it out the window occasionally.  Could be more fun than the "annoyatron".

  • At AVC practice on Thursday night, there was this couple walking around with some sophisticated sound measuring equipment, sampling our machines.  They said they were conducting SPL checks for the event tomorrow, but it didn't seem plausible.  I wondered if they were actually collecting samples of the sound of drones for an accoustic detection system.

  • Moderator

    I had to clean up the coffee I spit all over my keyboard from laughing the first time I saw this...

  • This reminds me of the Monty Python sketch, "...the cat detector van...  the LOONY detector van you mean!..."

    Between all the people paranoid about UV and those so self-involved they fear being seen, I'm surprised umbrellas have not become a daily accessory.  They could even be covered in tin foil to please the mind control crowd.

  • Developer

    note, the kickstarter has only "sold" one unit, the rest are warm-and-fuzzies probably from friends.

  • Three weeks of the kickstarter to go and only 10% of the way toward funding a pathetic field trial.  It seems the public were not stupid enough to fall for this attempt to profit from sensationalist nonsense.

  • Developer

    This is a threat addressed by the NASA UAS Challenge.


  • I was talking about GPS jammer. If jamming can be directed using something like a canteena it will be rather difficult to prove that a jammer was used.

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