CUAS Drone Detection and Tracking Methods
The presence of rogue drones can be detected by several different methods. Specific RF transmissions on UAV-specific frequencies can be scanned for, and individual makes of drone can even be identified by their command protocols. RF scanning will not detect all drones, as aircraft that have been programmed to fly autonomously may not be sending or receiving RF transmissions from a pilot or base station.
Electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) sensors can be used to detect drones based on their visual and heat signatures, respectively. These sensors may need to be paired with machine vision and artificial intelligence algorithms that can reduce the risk of false positives and false negatives. EO/IR gimbals for anti-drone systems are available that combine multiple cameras into one payload and can be mounted on a fixed site or moving vehicle.
Acoustic CUAS detection systems compare the noise made by drone propulsion systems to a database of sounds. Their accuracy can be affected by other noise in the vicinity.
Anti Drone Radar
Radar detection can also be used to detect UAVs. Traditional military and aviation radar systems, which are designed to pick up large aircraft, may struggle to pick up smaller drones, or to distinguish them from other objects such as birds. They may also find it difficult to deal with drones that move slowly or hover.
Modern anti drone radar systems may use a variety of radar technologies, including ESA (electronically scanned array), staring radar, and micro-Doppler, depending on requirements for range, size of protection zone, number of simultaneous targets to track, and ability to deal with environmental clutter. They provide 3D airspace tracking and use sophisticated signal processing techniques to accurately detect and identify drones.
As each detection method has its advantages and drawbacks, multi-sensor anti-drone systems will combine different sensor types along with sensor fusion algorithms to provide a complete integrated solution.