Drone Identification and Tracking in Denmark

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New advances in drone technology have sparked an enormous interest in commercial, public and private use of drones. This may become very beneficial to society in many aspects, however at the same time the drones are aircrafts operating in a complex airspace, and the large number of new drones and pilots are expected to become an increasing challenge to the authorities. The Danish Transport and Construction Agency has initiated a series of activities to address these challenges. The aimistofindabalancebetweensupportingthepotentialindustrialgrowthandbusinessdevelopmentaswellastherecreationaluserswhileatthesametimemaintaina sufficient level of regulation with regards to the identified challenges within safety, security and privacy. This work deals with the ability to identify and track drones in Denmark to supporttheauthoritiesinenforcingdroneregulationandtobeimplementedintoaUAS Traffic Management (UTM) system. The focus has been on establishing a proof of concept in a short period of time rather than seeking optimal solutions to all technical parts of the project. The work has included interaction with drone pilots, technical and non-technical domain experts, decision makers, authorities, governmental agencies,theindustryandpoliticiansviaworkshops,formalandinformalmeetings, knowledgesharingetc. Thisheterogeneousgroupofstakeholdersalsorepresentthe target audience for the reporting of this work, therefore a technical report was chosen rather than a scientific paper. Focus has been on conveying results and findings at a generic level while at the same time providing the details necessary for experts to build upon this work. Based on input from the stakeholders a system design for drone identification and tracking has been proposed. The system design supports communication between thedroneandtheUTMviaeitheralocalbeaconsignaloraradionetworkinfrastructure. The required drone functionality may be implemented by the manufacturer or the drone may be retrofitted with an external DroneID device. PartsofthesystemdesignincludingaprototypeoftheexternalDroneIDdevicewere implemented and tested in an experiment. A group of 10 professional drone pilots wereissuedeachanexternalDroneIDdevice. Duringa30dayperiodtheythencarried out their usual drone operations with the DroneID device installed and thereby actively transmitting information about the drone flight to an experimental UTM server. Weatherconditionspreventeddroneflightsonmanydaysduringtheexperiment. 19pilotflightdayswererecorded,eachwith2-4takeoffs. Therecordedflights did provide valuable knowledge concerning the pilot interaction with the DroneID device and helped testing the hardware and software. Data received by the UTM has been analysed and compared with detailed logs provided by the pilots. Some issues concerning technical design and usability were discovered, and the proposed system design has been updated accordingly. It is concluded that to the extent tested in this work it is feasible to efficiently identify and track drones fitted with the external DroneID device by a UTM service. The project partners have agreed to continue this work: A new version of the external DroneID device is currently being developed and a larger scale integration experimentwillbeconductedin2017. Softwareandhardwaredevelopedwithinthiswork has been released as permissive free open source for others to build upon.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSyddansk Universitet. Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Instituttet
Number of pages56
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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