I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

33 Responses to “DroneShield: crowdfunded, networked drone detectors”

  1. annomination says:

    does it also detect $100 bills? what about IED’s?

  2. theophrastvs says:

    good news military-industrialists!   we just got a contract to add $17 acoustical prop baffles (ACPROBAF™) to all our drone models for which we’ll bill the CIA $17million …each.

  3. MonkeyBoy says:

    There are commercial systems that do gun-shot detection/localization. Numerous cities have installed them in areas where they have gun problems. They use numerous mics for localization.

    I don’t see why this system couldn’t also handle gun-shots and piggy back on those concerns. Lots of citizens walking around with active phones could probably give better and cheaper coverage.

    • awjt says:

      Upward-facing arrays of mics with parabolic amplifiers.  Useful for police helicopters, too.

    • bkad says:

      Also, there are already acoustically triggered anti-helicopter mines, though I believe these use radar for confirmation and ranging.

  4. subaudition says:

    “Protect Your Privacy” is an oversell.  

    “Hey look, it’s a drone!” is more accurate. 

    • awjt says:

       It’s not that.  It’s “oh shit, a drone will be overhead in 60 seconds.”  Like when they were hiding in the cabin in the Bourne Legacy.

  5. G3 says:

    Set up a network. Get the right rifle. The nose of one of those things is going to be stuffed and mounted on a wall pretty darn quick.

  6. iamlegion says:

    Interesting approach – using the audio signature of the drone rather than looking for some sort of electronic signal…
    For my part, I wonder how this would perform against active
    countermeasures: it’s one thing to detect drones that aren’t making any
    effort to remain hidden or fool detectors about which drone they are,
    but what about a drone that uses some technology (from playing a
    recording of a different drone to full-on modifications of its engines
    and blades) to sound different?

    It would be a basic back-and-forth of offense vs. defense. Being open-source, it would be relatively simple to note the altered audio signature & add that entry to the detectors’ filters. The main issue would be lag time between a new alteration being observed in the wild & publishing the specs for download.

    • Ask anyone who lives within five miles of a dirtbike/motorsport park, rotax engines are LOUD and have a very distinctive pitch. Any thing that will drop the volume or change the pitch will murder efficiency.

  7. Paul Bruno says:

    I can defeat this system with $20 USD per drone, even in aerospace dollars. The answer is in the toy store. Think simple pitch mods.

  8. doniphon says:

    This is a solution, yes.  But a drone in the sky can only see what’s on the surface of the earth.  This means that there are other solutions, and….

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  9. Christian Buchner says:

    Wouldn’t the direction of the wind have an adverse effect on detectability? A strong wind will carry the sound away – and if the drone flies really high you might not  hear it before it’s right over you.

     

  10. kenmce says:

    what about a drone that uses some technology (from playing a recording of a different drone to full-on modifications of its engines and blades) to sound different?

    The problem here is that they will be using the most efficient engines and props that are currently available.  Any changes away from how they are now will cut into their performance.

    It’s a bit academic anyhow.  If it starts to look like it works, the whole business will be outlawed

    • awjt says:

       What if it were creative commons licensed?

      • kenmce says:

        awjt, not sure if you’re tweaking me or serious.  If you’re tweaking, well it worked, and you’re fully entitled to take home my sig. line as a trophy.

        But, if you’re serious, it makes no difference what license you wrap around it.  You could give it away free and without restriction if you like.  If it’s illegal it’s illegal.

        • awjt says:

          Both, but mostly tweaking.  What’s yer .sig?  I do fully realize the feds can make anything illegal that they want to, cc license, mickey mouse stamp of approval, or not.

          • Tynam says:

            Actually, the feds can’t make anything illegal if it has the Mickey Mouse (TM) stamp of approval.  Disney trumps justice on the Hill.

          • awjt says:

             The point is Disney IS the Hill.

  11. Sirkowski says:

    But a tin foil hat is so much cheaper.

    • kenmce says:

       You haven’t thought this all the way through.  If it’s created and spread in the west, guess where it would move to once it worked?  All those people we’re surveilling and terminating the fark out of would want it too. 

      We outlawed the export of high power cryptography programs because they might make life hard for our intel people.  Something that interfered, or might interfere, with our multimillion dollar flying deathbot programs would get shut down purely by reflex.

      • oasisob1 says:

        “We outlawed the export of high power cryptography programs because they might make life hard for our intel people.”
        And that totally worked, right?

  12. Rusty says:

    I’m curious about this Raspberry Pi “Gumstick” Computer they are using. None of the Raspberry Pi computers that I’ve seen will even fit in an Arduino Tin (barring using one of the large tin’s that I haven’t been able to find lately) and could hardly be considered a gumstick. I presume that since the Pi does not have audio in, that they are using either a usb audio interface, or possibly an i2c based adapter. 

  13. MollyMaguire says:

    Will the system differentiate between drones that are conducting surveillance and drones that are carrying out legitimate scientific data collection? Drones are used by many agencies for collecting everything from LiDAR elevation data to counting wildlife. And they are not spying on you.

  14. Roy Trumbull says:

    In a story I wrote several years ago there were small drones not much bigger than model airplanes that could be used to harass people and spray paint on them and even explode. The pieces are available off the shelf. More worrisome are simple drones with a wingspan of 6 to 10 feet and a range of a few miles. By the time they are spotted they’ve already done what they were designed to do. A domestic drone attack by parties unknown is a certainly.

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