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There’s a Drone in My Airspace! Now What? Part II - Data-Driven SOPs


Mary-Lou Smulders

no drone zone drone spotted

Security providers use drone detection technology to prepare for and even prevent drone-based incursions. In Dedrone’s recent blog post, “There’s a Drone in My Airspace, Now What? Part I”, we explore how to develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for before, during, and after a drone incident.

In this article, we go into more depth on how security teams can leverage data specific to their location, to prevent serious incursions from happening in the first place. Often times, a bad actor will complete several reconnaissance flights prior to the significant threat.  But how do we identify these surveillance flights? Just as in the traditional physical threat world, only behavior can identify these potentially emerging threats.  

To assess these behaviors, airspace activity data must first be collected and analyzed. This data is identified and recorded through detection hardware, such as RF sensors, cameras and radar can then be then fed into  Command and Control software, which provides more information on exactly what is happening in the airspace.

Security teams need to know:

  • How many drones are in my airspace?
  • Where are the drones coming from?
  • What time of day, or which days, are drones appearing?
  • What kinds of drones are being flown?
  • How long is the drone in my airspace?
  • What are the most common areas for drone activity?  
  • Do the drones have cameras?
DedroneTracker automatically fuses data from multiple sensors, including RF and cameras, to detect, identify and locate drones.

Security teams can then leverage this information to develop data-driven SOPs for every stage of the drone incursion.  

Uncover Patterns in Drone Activity

Quantify Your Drone Activity

  • How many drones are in my airspace? Confirm the existence and numbers of drones in your airspace to assess your level of vulnerability. What time of day and what days of the week do most drone incursions occur? Knowing this information will not only drive SOPs but may also point toward the identification of the bad actor.

Observe Unauthorized Drone Pilot Behavior

  • What time of day, and which days of the week, are drones appearing? This type of data enables security providers confirm whether there is a correlation of unauthorized drone activity with business operations. Unauthorized drone flights may occur during certain times of the day – such as under cover of darkness at night – during shift changes or during major business operations. For stadiums and arenas, drone activity may spike before, during, or after an event.  
DedroneTracker helps security providers quickly identify patterns of drone activity that may be unusual or align with key operational moments

Confirm the Scope of the Drone Threat

  • What kinds of drones are being flown? Drones vary in their size, payload capacity, speed, battery life, and range – all variables which can help security providers understand the nature of the individual drone threat when it appears. Being able to identify multiple manufacturer drone types to know exactly what type of drone is being flown over your facility is key to assessing the overall threat and therefore the appropriate response.

Calculate Response Time

  • How close is the drone and how long until it reaches me? During an incursion, it is important to understand timing. Seconds count, making early warning and  “reach in time” calculations crucial to the effectiveness of response teams.  

Deploy Resources to Common Flight Zones  

  • What are the most common areas for drone activity? Are the drones flying over sensitive areas? Drones provide a birds-eye view of a protected site, allowing the operator to locate vulnerabilities in security systems and exploit blind spots. Airspace security data confirms the areas in need of additional protection from drone threats. Security leaders can post signage, darken windows and/or add extra security patrols to likely launch areas.
DedroneTracker’s alert location heatmap gives a quick, visual overview of unauthorized drone activity in a broad area, and indicates hot spots.

Start Today with Your Data-Driven Airspace Security Program

Within a matter of minutes, security providers can install and launch their anti-drone systems and begin assessing their airspace activity. Security providers begin today with an airspace vulnerability assessment, which will provide an initial, baseline assessment of airspace activity. Typically lasting at least one month, these vulnerability assessments provide airspace data, which security leaders then leverage to determine the scope of the drone threat, define SOPs and consequently what resources are required to address the unauthorized drones.  

Smart airspace security SOPs must be based on the site’s individual drone threat profile. Airspace security data provides the foundation on which to build a plan to protect people, property and information from drone threats.  


May 21, 2021

| Updated

April 25, 2023

About the author

Mary-Lou Smulders is the Chief Marketing Officer at Dedrone, where she leads Dedrone's global marketing and communications team.

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