Drones: They Have Cameras, They Can Fly, And They Are Looking At You

With the popularity of drones, privacy and security concerns are on the rise. One Texas-based company has a solution: Drone Detectors.

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 14, 2015 -- If you hear a strange sound in the air after the holidays, it's probably not Santa's reindeer returning home. More than likely it's one of thousands of recreational drones given as presents for Christmas this year. Unfortunately not all drones (also called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAV's) are being used for entertainment.


Last December, a couple believed they were being stalked by their neighbor using a drone. Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez where both spied on by paparazzi flying drones. Someone caused a riot by flying a drone onto the field during a soccer match last October. Drones are frequently used to drop contraband and weapons into prison yards. Airlines have had several close calls with drones. There are serious concerns that drones will be used by terrorists to cause harm. And they are even being used to spy on corporate activities.

The frequency of drone-related incidents is expected to rise over the coming years. The FAA estimates there will be 30,000 commercial drones in the United States by 2030. This number doesn't take into account recreational drones sold to individuals. Just taking a conservative estimate of ten recreational drones for every commercial one there could be 300,000 recreational drones by 2030.

To combat this growing problem, Drone Labs, LLC (www.dronelabsllc.com), a provider of drone-related technologies, announced the launch of its latest offering: Drone Detector. This solution makes it easier than ever to protect your privacy. Much like a burglar alarm is used to detect home invasions, Drone Detector protects against privacy invasions. When a drone or drone operator is nearby, Drone Detector will alert you to their presence and give you the opportunity to respond to the threat.

"To be clear, most [drone] pilots are responsible, law-abiding people. We [at Drone Labs] are drone pilots ourselves. Unfortunately there are some bad pilots out there who don't follow the rules," said Drone Labs CEO and co-founder Zain Naboulsi. "We are committed to protecting people from unwanted drone invasions."

The device isn't currently meant to detect military drones, but Naboulsi says it can easily catch recreational and commercial drones. Competing companies have tried to detect drones by listening for them, but sound signatures are easy to hide for flying drones and cannot detect ground or water-based ones. According to Naboulsi, "Acoustics are bad because it's very easy to hide them. There's really not much effort involved in getting around a sound-based system—any amateur can modify the sound of their drone to defeat acoustic detection. With [Drone Detector] we don't depend on a single identification vector but, instead, use our patent-pending, multifactor authentication to verify the presence of a drone which makes it much harder to hide."

Naboulsi and his co-founder Phil Wheat, who have spent most of their careers working in the software industry, have a clear vision for detecting drones going forward. "We have developed a roadmap for Drone Detector to keep adding a rich set of features addressing the evolving threat that drones pose." The company appears poised to be the leader in the drone detection space.

Featured Product

Universal Robots - Collaborative Robot Solutions

Universal Robots - Collaborative Robot Solutions

Universal Robots is a result of many years of intensive research in robotics. The product portfolio includes the UR5 and UR10 models that handle payloads of up to 11.3 lbs. and 22.6 lbs. respectively. The six-axis robot arms weigh as little as 40 lbs. with reach capabilities of up to 51 inches. Repeatability of +/- .004" allows quick precision handling of even microscopically small parts. After initial risk assessment, the collaborative Universal Robots can operate alongside human operators without cumbersome and expensive safety guarding. This makes it simple and easy to move the light-weight robot around the production, addressing the needs of agile manufacturing even within small- and medium sized companies regarding automation as costly and complex. If the robots come into contact with an employee, the built-in force control limits the forces at contact, adhering to the current safety requirements on force and torque limitations. Intuitively programmed by non-technical users, the robot arms go from box to operation in less than an hour, and typically pay for themselves within 195 days. Since the first UR robot entered the market in 2009, the company has seen substantial growth with the robotic arms now being sold in more than 50 countries worldwide.