Vodafone will track and intercept drones with IoT

The 4G technology aims to prevent drones from wandering into planes' flight paths

Vodafone aims to use 4G and the Internet of Things to track drones that could present a risk to aircraft.

The telecom giant has announced trials of its air traffic control drone tracking and safety system, which combines a Radio Positioning System (RPS) alongside algorithms it has developed to track and control drones that may be wandering too close to a plane's flight path.

The technology is embedded in drones via a 4G modem and SIM, allowing them to be tracked in real time from a distance of up to 50 metres.

If an operator thinks the drones are creeping too close to a danger zone, the controller can be intercepted and authorities can override the controls, landing them safely if necessary.

"This groundbreaking innovation by Vodafone will help to ensure the skies stay safe as drones become ubiquitous, everywhere," Vodafone Group chief technology officer, Johan Wibergh, said.

The popularity of drones is seen as an increasing safety threat to commercial flights, with a near miss between a drone and a plane at Gatwick Airport last summer forcing authorities to close the runway and divert flights. The government also introduced measures last summer designed to improve accountability, that mean drone owners must register their machines.

Not only could the drones be intercepted should they pose a danger to other aircraft, they could also be stopped if it seems they're being used for illegal activity, such as smuggling contraband supplies into prisons or drug smuggling, Vodafone said.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has collaborated closely with Vodafone on the plans to ensure the system adheres to its new rules that will regulate how drones are operated.

"The European Commission supports all trials aimed at realising our U-space vision for safe commercial drone operations in the EU there is a growing network of demonstrations and projects across the EU," deputy director general of the commission, Matthew Baldwin, said. "We look forward to hearing the results of Vodafone's work."

The drone safety system has already been tested briefly at the end of 2017, when it was used to successfully control a 0.3m wingspan, 2kg X-UAV drone around Sevilla in Spain. The further trials will take place in Spain and Germany throughout 2018. Vodafone hopes its technology will be ready for commercial use from next year.

Featured Resources

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Evaluate your order-to-cash process

15 recommended metrics to benchmark your O2C operations

Download now

AI 360: Hold, fold, or double down?

How AI can benefit your business

Download now

Getting started with Azure Red Hat OpenShift

A developer’s guide to improving application building and deployment capabilities

Download now

Recommended

SpaceX wins $885.5m to connect rural America
broadband

SpaceX wins $885.5m to connect rural America

8 Dec 2020
BT: UK gov will miss gigabit broadband target by eight years
broadband

BT: UK gov will miss gigabit broadband target by eight years

28 Sep 2020
Dish chooses VMware Telco Cloud platform to deploy 5G in US
Infrastructure

Dish chooses VMware Telco Cloud platform to deploy 5G in US

31 Jul 2020

Most Popular

Citrix buys Slack competitor Wrike in record $2.25bn deal
collaboration

Citrix buys Slack competitor Wrike in record $2.25bn deal

19 Jan 2021
How to recover deleted emails in Gmail
email delivery

How to recover deleted emails in Gmail

6 Jan 2021
SolarWinds hackers hit Malwarebytes through Microsoft exploit
hacking

SolarWinds hackers hit Malwarebytes through Microsoft exploit

20 Jan 2021