DroneTracker 3 improves drone detection and tracking

By Patrick C. Miller | November 08, 2017

Drones have received some unflattering press over the past few months, ranging from flying in restricted airspace to interfering with fighting wildfires to colliding with manned aircraft to drug cartels equipping them as flying bombs.

The security experts at Dedrone Inc.—headquarted in San Francisco—add to that list concerns about the use of drones for hacking into business networks, industrial spying and stealing intellectual property. The company recently released DroneTracker 3, the latest version of its technology to protect physical and cyber infrastructure.

“The first step in responding to the threat is understanding what’s going on in the surrounding airspace and getting some hard data on it,” said Pablo Estrada, Dedrone’s vice president of marketing. “The main focus of this new release is to make it easy for people to get hard facts about what’s happening in their airspace. You start digging into the details of drone sightings. When? Where? What time? How long was it there?”

To accomplish this, DroneTracker 3 adds such enhancements as automated summary reporting, which enables security personnel to instantly assess and analyze drone threats; enterprise-grade security and management, allowing for multi-user management and integration into existing security programs; and increased simplification of platform set up, creating an intuitive and quick-to-deploy system.

Estrada said customers are often surprised to find out how much drone traffic is in the area of their businesses and facilities.

“Sometimes they’ll say a drone was spotted once or twice, but they don’t understand the extent to which it’s happening,” he explained. “They might be significantly underestimating the number of drones around them and in adjacent areas. Corporations, data centers, prisons, stadiums, industries and all customer types sometimes have an awareness of the problem, but lack critical data.”

According to Dedrone, DroneTracker 3 has greater drone detection capabilities, accuracy and reliability through the use of significantly improved sensors, third-party video cameras and upgraded algorithms that reduce false-positive detections by more than 99 percent. These changes also improve the tracking and re-detection of hovering, fast and small drones.

“We have a machine-learning network that we continuously update and train with data,” Estrada said. “That’s data sourced from images, videos and drone signals that we record. All these data inputs are going into the system.

“We can fine-tune the software to get trained on all those data points properly,” he continued. “The outcome for the user is better accuracy. The more data points we add to the system, the better it’s going to be. It’s an approach of trying to build a library of drone signatures.”

Estrada emphasized that DroneTracker 3 isn’t a stand-alone system and is designed to be integrated into a customer’s security system, which usually covers physical and IT security.

“We’ve added a number of things into the solution to make it even easier to adopt into enterprise environments,” he noted. “People are looking at integrating this technology into their existing systems, procedures and security knowledge.”

DroneTracker 3 is a passive system that can detect and track drones—not bring them down or interfere with their operations—which is illegal for private entities. However, the ability to spot drones, develop an understanding of what they’re doing, track them and locate their operators can serve as a powerful deterrent, Estrada said. It also gives customers time to deploy measures to protect data, operations and intellectual property, he added.