Manufacturers develop technology to detect drones, prevent illegal flying

Updated 2017-08-11 11:39:32 Global Times

Chinese manufactures have developed technologies to detect and regulate illegal drone flying, said drone experts, adding that the technologies should be fully used by regulators to ensure the safety of civil aviation.

"Currently, the technologies developed by domestic and foreign companies can spot and locate the majority of drones flying in China," Li Anping, head of the OET Radio Spectrum Technology Institute under the State Radio Monitoring Center, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The equipment include a network that could detect and force a drone to leave a protected region and "electromagnetic guns" which could send electromagnetic interference signals to block the user's control of drones and force the vehicle to land on the ground, according to Li.

A similar gun, priced at 250,000 yuan (,530), was used by police in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province during a soccer match in March to drive away six drones, local newspaper Changjiang Daily reported.

Moreover, the technology could also identify the users and their location, with the margin of error ranging from dozens to one hundred meters, depending on the power of the signal and ground settings, Li told the Global Times.

China has witnessed a rapid growth in drone sales in recent years. In 2016, around 390,000 drones were sold in the country and the number is expected to surpass 3 million in 2019, financial newspaper National Business Daily reported on June 27.

However, illegal drone flying, especially by drone enthusiasts, has also affected normal flights and raised safety concerns.

In April, several drones illegally flew around the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, forcing up to 100 flights to land at alternative airports, the National Business Daily reported.

Meanwhile, some drones are used to peep into military facilities as they are harder to detect and could enter regions with complex terrain, said experts, calling on regulators to fully use the anti-drone technology to enhance safety of civil aviation and protect military facilities.

Drone manufacturers also need to take responsibility, such as installing "electronic barriers" on their products, Hou Min, a deputy director of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of China, told the Global Times.

An "electronic barrier" installed in the drone could automatically block the vehicle from entering a protected region, such as airports and military facilities, according to Hou.

As drones are widely popular among the young generation, the education on legal drone flying must start from school, he added.

To better regulate the sector, China's aviation authorities released a draft regulation on Wednesday that requires businesses operating drones, such as those using drones to spray fertilizer and taking photos, to apply for a permit for the operation.

The draft also requires the business applicant to be a Chinese national. Those who operate drone-training businesses must get authorization from the authorities, the document said.

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