• Search & rescueFoldable drone flies through narrow passages in rescue missions

    Researchers have developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

  • DronesBetter drone detection through machine learning, cameras

    Visual detection of drones has never been considered as effective as its thermal, radio or acoustic counterparts. The trouble is always discriminating between different moving objects in view. Typically, a bird or even a plastic bag caught in the wind might be mistaken for a drone, which is why most discrimination methods have primarily focused on heat and acoustic signatures in the past (though acoustic signatures also tend to become less useful in urban areas with higher levels of background noise). Combined with machine learning, however, a camera can tell a different story.

  • Search & rescueFleets of drones could aid searches for lost hikers

    By Rob Matheson

    Finding lost hikers in forests can be a difficult and lengthy process, as helicopters and drones can’t get a glimpse through the thick tree canopy. Recently, it’s been proposed that autonomous drones, which can bob and weave through trees, could aid these searches. But the GPS signals used to guide the aircraft can be unreliable or nonexistent in forest environments. New system allows drones to cooperatively explore terrain under thick forest canopies where GPS signals are unreliable.

  • DronesDrones could be used to detect dangerous “butterfly” landmines

    It is estimated that there are at least 100 million military munitions and explosives of concern devices in the world, of various size, shape and composition. Millions of these are surface plastic landmines with low-pressure triggers, such as the mass-produced Soviet PFM-1 “butterfly” landmine. Drones could be used to detect dangerous “butterfly” landmines in remote regions of post-conflict countries.

  • DronesLos Alamos lab designated “No Drone Zone,” deploys counter-drone systems

    Loa Alamos National Laboratory, in collaboration with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has deployed a system to counter all unauthorized unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) over its restricted airspace and an additional FAA designated “No Drone Zone.” The Counter-UAS program at Los Alamos will be the blueprint for future programs at three other NNSA sites. Systems are planned for the Pantex Plant in Texas, the Y-12 facility in Tennessee, and the National Nuclear Security Site in Nevada.

  • DronesRecommended: An action plan on U.S. drone policy

    Drones have become a mainstay of U.S. counterterrorism operations and national security policy writ large. The Obama administration popularized the use of armed drones, and U.S. drone policy have only become more salient during the Trump administration – but the Trump administration’s approach to U.S. drone policy has thus far revealed a desire to roll back some of the principles, procedures, and guidelines put in place by the Obama administration.

  • DronesDoes the government really need this much power to deal with an attack of the drones?

    By India McKinney and Andrew Crocker

    Last week, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018 (S. 2836), which would give DOJ and DHS sweeping new authority to counter malicious drones. Among other things, the bill would authorize DOJ and DHS to “track,” “disrupt,” “control,” “seize or otherwise confiscate,” or even “destroy” unmanned aircraft that pose a “threat” to certain facilities or areas in the U.S. Given the breadth of these proposed new powers, you would expect officials to have a strong case for passing the bill. But even after the hearing, it’s not clear why DHS and DOJ need any expanded authority to go after “malicious” drones.

  • DronesNIST boosts drone forensics with new data on its website

    Aerial drones might someday deliver online purchases to your home. But in some prisons, drone delivery is already a thing. Drones have been spotted flying drugs, cell phones and other contraband over prison walls, and in several cases, drug traffickers have used drones to ferry narcotics across the border. If those drones are captured, investigators will try to extract data from them that might point to a suspect.

  • DronesTesting and demonstrating drones -- and showing what they can do

    “Drones” have proven useful both for the military and the public. They can be relatively inexpensive gadgets with a variety of capabilities such as taking aerial photos and video, surveilling, and carrying objects. However, until now, DHS could not evaluate and demonstrate drones in a timely manner because of the lack of a common testing site and high costs. DHS S&T is preparing to integrate drones in DHS’ and other federal agencies’ missions by providing accessible demonstration sites for land- and maritime-based operations.

  • DronesTruly autonomous systems to learn “on the fly”

    Almost all artificial intelligence, or AI, technology is reliant on the availability of massive amounts of data, but engineers are now trying to develop machines that can learn “on the fly” in situations where there is little data to inform them. The engineers hope their efforts will assist the Department of Defense in the development of truly autonomous systems that can not only operate in challenging environments but also survive disruptions or recognize when they are fatal.

  • DronesHow are drones changing warfare, threatening security?

    The Trump administration recently announced a new policy that could vastly expand the sale of armed aerial drones, a specialty of Professor Nicholas Grossman, the author of the new book Drones and Terrorism: Asymmetric Warfare and the Threat to Global Security. “Most people focus on governments deploying drones, but terrorists, insurgents and other nonstate actors are using them as well,” he said. “The growing commercial drone market also creates concerns that terrorists will deploy them in the United States and other developed countries.”

  • Safe skiesSecuring U.S. skies

    Extended stretches of U.S. land borders invite illegal entry on the ground, and U.S. coastlines are often used for unauthorized seaborne entry. New, creative attempts at illegal activity in these domains are a daily occurrence. Aerial threats pose a different challenge as they have no natural barriers restricting them — land or coastal. Commercialization of drone technology, for all the beneficial opportunities it provides, also enables a new medium for criminal activity and other homeland security threats.

  • DronesDrones learn to navigate autonomously by imitating cars, bicycles

    Researchers have developed an algorithm called DroNet which allows drones to fly completely by themselves through the streets of a city and in indoor environments. The algorithm had to learn traffic rules and adapt training examples from cyclists and car drivers.

  • Drones & privacyDetect illicit drone video filming

    Researchers have demonstrated the first technique to detect a drone camera illicitly capturing video. Their study addresses increasing concerns about the proliferation of drone use for personal and business applications and how it is impinging on privacy and safety.

  • No-drone zonesFAA declares seven nuclear research facilities no-drone zones

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted a request from the Department of Energy (DOE) to declare seven DOE’s nuclear research facilities no-drone zones. Starting 29 December, drone operators would not be allowed to fly their UAVs within 400 feet of these facilities: The FAA said it is currently considering more “no-drone zone” requests from federal agencies.