In addition to bringing joy and benefits to users and hobbyists around the world, drones are transforming the way modern societies function. Small, unmanned aerial systems (sUASs), more commonly known as drones, are being used to enhance operations across many fields and industries, including (as a representative sample):
Media companies for filming major entertainment and news events
Law enforcement agencies for surveillance and monitoring
Airports for maintenance and inspection
Agricultural companies for crop and livestock monitoring
Insurers for post-accident and disaster claims
MAYHEM & MISTAKES RAISE THE STAKES
Affordable, easy to obtain drones can be used to assassinate political leaders, conduct corporate espionage, sow mass terror, smuggle drugs into a prison or across borders, disrupt major events and endanger the airspace at airports.
Drones are becoming more compact, faster, harder to detect and more durable. Many can fly long distances and carry heavy payloads, and are quite easy to operate, which poses safety and security risks to nearly every type of environment.
Terrible outcomes can even result from accidents, such as a drone colliding with a power line, or moving vehicle.
POPULAR, PREVALENT & PERVASIVE
The drone market is expanding rapidly. Business Insider Intelligence predicts consumer drone shipments will hit 29 million by 2021. Total global shipments of enterprise drones are expected to reach 2.4 million in 2023 – increasing at a 66.8 percent compound annual growth rate.
The combination of technological advances, lower prices, intuitive controls and increased consumer and enterprise interest means that the number of drones is multiplying around the globe. Unfortunately, some of these drones will be used by people with bad intentions, as well as inexperienced pilots who do not understand the power of the sophisticated machinery they control.
MAJOR INCIDENTS OCCUR REGULARLY
Drone incidents seem to be in the news constantly. A small, representative sample of some of the more well-known stories include:
The Islamic State terrorist group, also known as “ISIS,” used commercial drones that could be purchased on Amazon as far back as 2016. They attached small explosive devices to the UASs, transforming drones flown in Iraq and Afghanistan into remotely piloted bombs. UASs are increasingly being used globally to wage asymmetrical warfare against larger, more traditional forces.
A suspected drone closed down Gatwick airport in the UK for 33 hours in 2018, disrupting the journeys of approximately 140,000 passengers and costing airlines an estimated £50 million ($64.5 million).
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro survived an assassination attempt involving explosive drones in 2018.In the summer of 2020, a Major League Baseball (MLB) game between the Minnesota Twins and the Pittsburgh Pirates was halted for nine minutes after someone sent an unauthorized drone over Target Field in Minneapolis. That was one of four drone incidents at MLB games that summer/fall!
During that same summer, several journalists aboard Air Force One claimed to spot a nearby drone as the American president’s plane approached landing.
D-Fend Solutions closely monitors drone incidents to track the latest trends and technologies for continuous enhancement of our counter-drone solutions.