Aerial version of dog fences proposed to keep drones out of sensitive areas
02 September 2015
Drones are now increasingly seen everywhere, not only do they carry out tasks like delivery of drugs, groceries etc but they are also getting into places where their presence can threaten security and endanger human lives.
In fact, so many incidents related to drones have been reported that some lawmakers are proposing an aerial version of an invisible dog fence to ensure unmanned aircraft are not allowed in sensitive areas.
Much like electronic fences that zap dogs to keep them within boundaries, the fence-in-the-sky uses global-positioning systems to mark no-fly zones for drones.
There is a problem, though as the systems, known as geo-fencing, may not be effective against the growing lawlessness in the skies.
Geo-fence technology could be overridden and it does not seem to work with older or cheaper models. Also education campaigns too have not proved of much help and catching violators has proven almost impossible.
''As long as there's YouTube and everybody's competing for the coolest video, there's going to be drones out there,'' Jim Williams, the former chief of the Federal Aviation Administration's unmanned aircraft division, said in an interview, Bloomberg News reported. ''My confidence isn't high that this will go away.''
Geo-fencing could be the best solution to the problem currently, but it would still not be able to adequately address the surge of drone incidents expected to exceed 1,000 this year.
However, mandating geo-fencing would first require the government to write regulations, an often cumbersome process that could take years, said Williams, who is now a drone-industry consultant at the Dentons US law firm.
Meanwhile, Drone Aviation Holding Corp. ("DAC" or "Drone Aviation"), manufacturer of tethered drones and lighter-than-air aerostats, announced that The Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at Virginia Tech (VTMAAP) will collaborate with DAC to research, test, and advance the commercialization of the Company's tethered unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones.
The organisations began flight-testing this month in Jacksonville, Florida, to explore the reliability, safety, and commercial-use cases for the Company's family of tethered drones, and ultimately report the results to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
"We are excited to demonstrate the advantages and many potential civil and commercial uses of our tethered drones," said Jay Nussbaum, chairman of Drone Aviation Holding Corp.
"This ongoing partnership will focus on evaluating the increased safety features and technical advantages of our tethered drones and sharing that data with the FAA for the potential commercial deployment of 'WATT' systems into the national airspace for first responders and commercial entities."
The FAA selected the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at Virginia Tech in December 2013, as one of six national test sites to conduct research to integrate unmanned aircraft into the nation's airspace.
Since then, the partnership has worked with unmanned aircraft systems to aid emergency responders, survey energy pipeline infrastructure, study agricultural land, and teach reporters to cover news.
"At Virginia Tech, we see tremendous opportunity for tethered-drone technology because of its unique capabilities and safety profile, making it applicable to a large number of applications from news broadcasting to emergency response and facility security," said Rose Mooney, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, headquartered at the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech.
"We look forward to working with Drone Aviation Holding Corp (DAC), the FAA, and our consortium partners to explore the commercial application of this novel UAS technology."
DAC's WATT-200 is designed to safely provide secure and reliable aerial monitoring for extended durations while being tethered to the ground via a high strength armored tether. Unlike hobbyist drones or manned aircraft, the WATT model delivers long flight duration and commercial grade, real-time video-monitoring capabilities day or night.
The US government and military have identified a new threat in modern day warfare - commercial drones doubling up as carriers of explosives or chemical weapons. (See: Boeing's laser canon burns drones in seconds).