Government crackdowns on drone use is news that pilots are used to regularly reading about it. Only last week, HobbyKing News reported that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia was working with drone giant DJI to force users to pass a knowledge test before flying their device (click here for more details on this story). Now Vodafone is following in similar footsteps.
The company, which is working alongside the European Aviation Safety Agency, has announced that it is testing technology that would be able to track and control drones. The trail is currently in place in both Spain and Germany. The way this works is that Vodafone has developed the world’s first Radio Positioning System (RPS) for drones, which uses a 4G modem and SIM embedded within every drone.
Vodafone says they will additionally be able to track small commercial drones, which are typically too small to be picked up on the radar. According to Vodafone these types of drones “present a serious risk to pilots worldwide, particularly in the immediate vicinity of airfields and airports.”
The RPS technology was not designed to control the regular drone user but rather it is intended to be able to inform authorities of accidents and terrorist attacks. By implementing ‘protective geofencing’ technology, the company is also hoping to help control air-space by enforcing ‘no-fly zones’ in important areas such as areas near hospitals.
This control comes as no surprise considering increasing concerns over security, with the potential risk of a terrorist using drone technology to carry lethal explosive. Additionally, it is designed to help stop the possibility of criminals from smuggling illegal products.
These concerns are further heightened by the fact that Europe will be opening up their airspace for commercial drone use at some point next year. However, Vodafone is hoping that authorities will be able to use this technology by the start of next year and help combat some of these security and air-traffic issues.