PRE2018 3 Group4

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0LAUK0 - 2018/2019 - Q3 - group 4

Group members

Name Student ID Major
Jort de Bokx 1050214 Software Science
Sander de Bruin 1006147 Software Science
Stijn Derks 1008002 Software Science
Martin de Quincey 1007047 Software Science and Applied Mathematics
Nick van de Waterlaat 1009357 Software Science


The goal of this wiki page is to show a study/analysis/design/prototype of a robotic subject. This research is an assignment of the course Robots Everywhere (0LAUK0). For this project, students work in a group of 5 choosing a subject in the core of robotics to work on, thereby making sure the USE aspects are leading.

Initial ideas

Robotic surgery

With all the progress in robotics, we have now reached a stage in time where it is (almost) possible to let robots do surgery. There have been quite some recent breakthroughs, and it is also already applied to some scale in hospitals. However, there are some aspects to this robotic technology that need closer investigation.

Medical rehabilitation with the help of robots

Many people suffer from injuries that may require long-term medical rehabilitation. This rehabilitation is typically complex and takes a lot of trained staff to help guide the patients through the process. Then there might be benefits for both the patients and the staff helping the patients with rehabilitation if robotics were to help the rehabilitation process.

Drone interception

Between 19 and 21 December 2018, hundreds of flights were canceled at Gatwick Airport, following reports of drone sightings close to the runway. The airport did not have any measures to prevent this issue. Many users of airlines were stranded, and airlines (enterprises) lost. The airport only had detection and tracking devices, but no counter-drone mechanism. Just like birds, drones can cause enormous damage to aeroplane engines and are therefore illegal around airports. However, no airport yet has a fully working anti-drone defense mechanism, while most airports do have anti-bird systems, consisting of noise mechanisms to scare birds away.

Drone pesticides

An important consequence of the increased global population is the demand for food. In order to meet these demands, farmers require the use of pesticides to ensure enough yield from their crops. However, the overuse of pesticides and fertilizer can have huge negative impacts on society. Hence we the use of drones to analyse the state of farmland and automatically apply fertiliser and pesticides as needed could make a farmer’s job easier, making the production more eco-friendly.

Trading bot

Trading bots have been used on the stock market for quite some time already, but ever after the boom of cryptocurrencies, the usage of these bots has become ever more increasing. The stakeholders of these bots are people that are active in, for example, the stock market and cryptocurrency market. People could use such a bot in order to achieve a passive income. It would be interesting to design such a bot for interested parties. Furthermore, it would be interesting to consider the ethical discussion regarding the permission to use such trading bots in the stock market.

Networking AI

Gridlock is problematic in large western cities, but also many large cities with underdeveloped infrastructure in countries like Asia. It massively hinders any form of transport, and also unnecessarily increases pollution. Forms of AI in private cars or forms of public transport such as buses or trains might help reduce this problem. On an abstract level, buses or trains could adjust their schedule or route such that they are deployed at places where passengers are waiting in real time, not where they are expected to be waiting. This way, one might prevent the case where two half-full buses are driving on similar routes. By sharing information and adapting to real-time information, in this case only one bus would be necessary.

Use drones to monitor and improve marine life

Due to climate change, many problems arise. A large part of these problems emerge in the seas and underwater. Examples include changes to the habitat of marine mammals, irreversible damage to coral reefs, and already endangered species being threatened quicker by their changing environment. A current use for them is flying through and capturing fluid samples of the exhaled fluids of whales, to monitor their health. Specific autonomous robots designed for underwater operation might help monitor the state of coral reefs, and introduce new coral to a reef to support its growth.

Chosen concept: Drone interception modified such that it can be applied in a more general setting.

Problem description

Between 19 and 21 December 2018, hundreds of flights were canceled at Gatwick Airport, following reports of drone sightings close to the runway[1]. A total of 760 flights were disrupted on the 20th of December due to the drone. Naturally, this angered many people whose flight was delayed. Not only does it anger people, but it is also a financial worry for the airport organization as all of these people with delayed flights have to be compensated. The airport did not have any `good' measures to prevent this issue. Gatwick chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe said: `The police are looking for the operator and that is the way to disable the drone'[1]. Woodroofe further elaborates that the police had not wanted to shoot the devices down because of the risk from stray bullets. This is, of course, not something that is to be repeated as this caused a lot of inconvenience for many travelers. The airport itself only had detection and tracking devices, but no real effective counter mechanisms available. This issue is not limited to the setting of airports, but it can be further extended to any hot spot, such as the centre of cities, special events that involve important figures, and more. With the ever-increasing possibilities of technology, it should in the future not be unexpected for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to suddenly show up and wreak havoc. This havoc can range from taking pictures of people in public places to spy or stalk them to terrorists that use UAVs to drop bombs in highly populated areas. These occurrences are more likely to appear as the technology we possess increases.

We think that we should not sit idle and passively wait for the worst-case scenarios to occur before starting to think about countermeasures. The recent incident between 19 and 21 December 2018 at Gatwick Airport should already sound an alarm that we should take an active attitude and develop mechanisms that counter UAVs in effective ways. These mechanisms should be able to deal with much more than mere birds and should consider any form of terrorism that can be caused through the airspace.


Objectives of the project as a whole include:

  • Gaining insight into accidents and incidents involving various forms of drones.
  • Identify and specify the currently existing countermeasures and counter mechanisms against drones and UAVs in general.
  • Identify and specify the USE stakeholders of the problem space and their interests regarding possible solutions.
  • Propose multiple possible solutions to the problem.
  • Identify the advantages and the disadvantages centred around user interests for each provided solution.
  • Validate and verify that our proposed solutions solve the discussed problems with respect to the USE stakeholders and their interests.

State of the Art

Game of drones: defending against drone terrorism[2]

This article discusses the threat of weaponized drone warfare. Not only are drones UAVs that may hinder people at places like for example airports, but they can also be equipped with weaponry, and this potentially makes them extremely dangerous. Weaponized drones could be used in terrorism as they are unmanned and can be operated from a distance, meaning that no people are put at risk. However, for this same reason, it can also be used for military purposes. On November 3, 2002, the era of weaponized drone warfare began when an American drone blasted a car with a missile, killing all six occupants. Since weaponized drones form such a threat to potentially innocent people, the article lays out the three challenges to defending against drone terrorism: detecting potentially hostile drones, identifying them, and destroying or neutralizing them.

The detection of drones could be done by using a radar detection system, where the location and height of a detected object in the air can be calculated. However, the key challenge of the radar system is to determine whether such a detected object is actually a drone. Furthermore, due to the way a radar detector works, a drone can be created using materials such that it will not be detected. Therefore, there is a need for a proper identification system to classify a detected object as a potentially dangerous drone. Identification of any specific aircraft, at present, relies upon broadcasting a coded signal, which is decoded by air traffic control towers. Such that allies and enemies can be identified and to avoid targeting a friendly aircraft. As a result, all aircraft where radar service is provided should require systems that are able to broadcast coded signals for identification. Once a drone has been detected and identified as potentially hostile, it needs to be neutralized. Drones can be shot down, have their guidance systems damaged, or their control signals can be jammed or interfered with. Air-to-air missiles and gunfire, lasers can be an effective weapon against drones. Lastly, electromagnetic attacks that consist of interfering with the GPS signals would make the drone uncontrollable to the pilot and using 'spoofing' could enable an attacker to take control of the drone.

Investigating Cost-effective RF-based Detection of Drones[3]

The focus of the article is on the detection of a drone, such that it can be dealt with. More specifically, a drone detection system that autonomously detects and characterizes drones using radio frequency wireless signals. Where two approaches are proposed, both using inexpensive technology, e.g., WiFi and inexpensive software-defined radios, to automatically detect drones. One active method that detects drones by observing the reflected wireless signal, and a second passive method that listens to the communication between the drone and its controller. In the active method, a Wi-Fi receiver can be used to detect a drone based on the signature of the signal reflected from the propellers of a drone. Similar to a radar, a transmitter broadcasts signals and a receiver captures reflected signals that bounce of a drone. The passive method detects a drone by listening to the communication channel between the drone and its controller using a wireless receiver. Usually, drones communicate with their controllers a few times per second to update their status and to receive commands from the controller. A system could collect wireless samples and observes the signal, analyse them and can then detect a drone's presence.

Clash of the drones[4]

The motivation for this article was the trouble at Gatwick Airport in London, where flights had to be diverted because a drone was spotted nearby. They stated that in the year 2017, in the UK alone, it has happened over 100 times that a drone was too close to an Airport. These events are undesirable, and thus authorities are trying to find reliable and safe strategies to take down these drones. They state that current countermeasures of taking out drones cause too much collateral damage. One option would be “Geo-fencing”, where drones would simply be fenced out due to software. However, this requires the manufacturers to implement this and the users to not tamper with this, which is considered too risky. The Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security even gave away $30.000 for the best idea to take out drones, so the desire for such technology is high.

Ideas were among others using other drones to take out the undesired drone. Other examples were using airguns to bring the drones to the ground, and training animals such as eagles to take down the drones. The consequences of drones on airports are catastrophic. Even a small drone could seriously damage the windshield of an airplane, so there need to be forbidden zones for drones to guarantee public safety.

Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (drones), Mid-Air Collision Study[5]

The Department for Transport, the Military Aviation Authority and British Airline Pilots’ Association commissioned a study about what the consequences are of a collision mid-air between a manned aircraft and a drone. The goal of the study was to find the minimum speed at which such a collision would cause critical damage to the aircraft. An important note is that they only focused on windscreen collisions, and did not take, e.g. the motors into account. The main results of the study were that for aviation airplanes with windshields that were not birdstrike-certified, the damage done was critical at speeds well below the regular cruise speeds.

For airliners, their windscreens are much more resistant. For drones in the 1.2kg class, no critical damage occurred, but for drones in the 4kg class, damage did undoubtedly occur. Another interesting remark is also that how the drone was built has a significant influence on the damage done, for example, if the motors are covered in plastic or not. Their study also concluded that drones do much more damage than regular birds at equal speeds and with equal weight. This is due to the fact that birds act more like a fluid when colliding at such speeds, whereas the drones do not act like this due to their hard materials.

Drone Safety Risk: An assessment[6]

This study, published by the Civil Aviation Authority, 2018, has investigated the likeliness of a collision between a drone and an airplane, as well as the consequent damage. In January 2018, there have been seven confirmed cases of a direct collision between a drone and a civil or military aircraft. Furthermore, they have estimated that the probability of a drone being in the proximity of an aircraft going at speeds high enough such that a collision could cause damage, is about 2 in a million. Furthermore, the probability of consequently causing critical damage is even lower than this probability.

They have also investigated the consequences of a drone colliding with a turbo-fat jet engine. They have concluded that a small drone would not do any significant damage. On top of that, even if it did damage, a multi-engine aircraft should still be able to land most likely. However, they also stated that helicopters are much more susceptible to drone collisions.

How do you catch a drone? With an even BIGGER drone and a giant net: Tokyo police reveal bizarre 'UAV catcher' [7]

In this article, an emerging technology is discussed to take out unwanted drones. They do not only discuss the technology but also report on the fact that this technology has been officially employed by police in Tokyo, Japan. The technology that they use is a drone with a net attached to it, making it able to catch the unwanted drones. The primary motivation for this deployment of technology was a security breach from 2015. A man called Yasuo Yamamoto controlled a drone that contained dangerous concentrations of radioactive cesium and landed it on the roof of the Japanese Prime Minister’s Official Residence. It managed to stay there undetected for 14 days after it was accidentally discovered during a tour around the building for new employees. The goal was to raise awareness to close all nuclear reactors in Japan.

The developed counter-drones will be used to find and capture malicious drones who fly dangerously close near public officials, in the fear of, e.g. a drone containing explosives. The deployment of these drones was part of a larger project of Japan in order to strengthen airspace security. Masahiro Kobayashi, an Osaka-based lawyer, mentioned that the biggest fear raised by experts is still the possibility of unmanned aircrafts coming too close to commercial airplanes.

The SkyWall 100 bazooka captures drones with a giant net[8]

This article discusses a new type of technology in order to take unwanted drones out mid-air. In a nutshell, it is a bazooka which can shoot nets as far as 100 meters away. The bazooka is portable and can be operated by a single individual, meaning it is not a stationary weapon and can thus be moved from place to place. Important to note is that after the net is shot and the drone has been successfully shot, a parachute on top of the net is deployed to avoid any dangerously falling debris. The product is not meant for regular people, but the device is marketed to be deployed at sensitive events and near buildings such as an airport.

The bazooka is also equipped with an intelligent locking system to aid the controller to hit the drone successfully. They also announced the SkyWall 300, which is a remotely controlled mounted tripod with the same effect but with a further range. The SkyWall 100 was not yet available at the time of release, but nowadays it has been used multiple times, for instance at a Berlin air show in April 2018.

A literature review on new robotics: automation from love to war[9]

In this literature review, Royakkers and Est investigate the social significance of robotics for the coming years in both Europe and the US by studying robotics developments in five different areas: the home, health care, traffic, the police force, and the army. Royakkers and Est argue that our society currently accepts the use of robots to perform dull, dangerous, and dirty industrial jobs, but wonder how this will be in the future as robotics is moving more and more out of the factory. Royakkers and Est provide a literature review that `attempts to provide an engaged but sober (non-speculative) insight into the societal issues raised by the new robotics: which robot technologies are coming; what are they capable of; and which ethical and regulatory questions will they consequently raise?' Especially the areas that concern the police force and the army are useful for the problem definition we provided.

Royakkers and Est argue that police robots are still in an experimental, exploratory phase, but that the USA and Japan are way in front of Europe when it comes to the development of these robots. The two applications that are central are carrying out surveillance and disarming explosives. One ethical issue that Royakkers and Est bring up is a discussion about privacy versus safety. They argue that a tricky issue with robots is the violation of privacy. Moreover, there is a risk of manipulation of sound and recordings, which would be a considerable disadvantage. Furthermore, what happens if malicious attackers steal important data stored on such a robot? The increasing deployment of police robots would also mean that police officers must acquire new skills, which costs time and money. It could also eventually lead to the loss of essential police skills as the police officers will be trained in different ways.

Furthermore, there is an important legal complication regarding the deployment of airborne robots for police purposes. That is, it is not yet clear how they can be deployed following existing laws and regulations. Abuse and proliferation are important factors that have to be kept in mind as well. Specific safety rules will have to be met, and these robots must not pose any danger to civilians at all. What would happen if one of these robots were hacked? There could be disastrous consequences, which could then lead to even stricter legislation concerning employing these robots. That is not all. Armed police robots will raise critical ethical questions on the usage of these robots.

Developing tools to counteract and prevent suicide bomber incidents[10]

In this paper, Royakkers and Steen describe how teams of developers and designers engaged with ethics in the early phases of innovation based on case studies in the SUicide Bomber COunteraction and Prevention (SUBCOP) project. In order to achieve that goal, Value Sensitive Design (VSD) is used as a reference. The most important ideas presented in this scenario are the focus on the effectiveness, the safety, and the utility of the tool developed. That is, their ability to remove the threat, the ability to survive the threat, and the ability to properly utilize the tool. Five selected tools were developed by different teams of researchers and developers of different organizations: An Acoustic Warning Signal Projector (A-WASP), electronic countermeasures to prevent remote detonation, procedures for using electroshock devices, a system that produces a Water Mist, and a protective shield. Here, these last two are both for blast and fragmentation mitigation. These tools are aimed at various things. Some tools such as the Water Mist focuses on protecting bystanders, whereas the electroshock devices are intended to approach and engage suspects. At the end of their paper, Royakkers and Steen conclude that the researchers/developers involved are able to do something similar to VSD, supported by relatively simple exercises in the project, such as meetings with potential end-users and discussions with members of the Ethical Advisory Board of the project.

Persistence Surveillance of Difficult to Detect microdrones with L-band 3-D Holographic RadarTM[11]

This paper focusses on the detection of small, difficult to detect, microdrones and how to discriminate drones from other moving objects. Since scanning radars have to find a compromise between time on target and update rate, this can negatively impact the radar from reliably detecting very weak signatures targets in another clutter of objects. What this means is that the scanning radar cannot see a difference between drones and birds, when for example a drone is flying between a group of birds. Then employing a 2D antenna and appropriate signal processing to create a multibeam, 3D, wide area overcomes the weakness of scanning radars and achieves high detection sensitivity. A decision tree based classifier can be used to identify the difference between drones and other moving objects. Where it rejects non-drone targets, decreasing the number of false positives and increases true positives. Such that when neutralizing such a moving object in the air, with high probability, it will be a drone instead of for example a flying bird.

Radar-Based Detection and Identification for Miniature Air Vehicles[12]

This paper discusses a radar-based detection and identification method for drones. More specifically the paper describes the design of a lightweight, X-Band (10.5GHz) radar system for use on a small-scale (less than 25 kg) rotorcraft. The prototype implementation of the radar is small enough to be carried by a drone and is able to differentiate other 'miniature rotorcrafts' (drones) by their doppler signature. The prototype uses a radar system which utilizes electromagnetic energy to gain information on objects by analyzing the reflected energy. The types of radars used are continuous wave radars, a frequency modulated continuous wave radar and a Doppler radar. Whilst in the paper the cause of the radar system is to avoid aerial collisions between unmanned vehicles, it might still be useful to us as it is a method of detecting and identifying moving objects in the air. Therefore it this prototype can also be used/expanded for neutralizing such aerial objects, might a drone be detected and identified.

Privacy, data protection and ethics for civil drone practice: A survey of industry, regulators and civil society organisations[13]

In this article, Finn and Wright present results of a survey of primarily European drone industry representatives, regulators, and civil society organisations that examined privacy, data protection, and ethics concerning civil drone operations. The article also demonstrates, using self-reported information from industry representatives, that these stakeholders do not have a clear understanding of European privacy and data protection law. Finn and Wright argue that this can impact their levels of liability and protections for individuals on the ground. The findings in this article demonstrate that law enforcement, commercial, and private or recreational drone operators are all thought to be associated with significant privacy, data protection, and ethical risks. Here, the recreational operators are thought to carry the highest risks. The article concludes with a consideration of the implications of these findings for the regulation of privacy, data protection and ethics for civil drone operations.

Robot ethics: Mapping the issues for a mechanized world[14]

In this article, Lin et al. describe what kind of new ethical and policy challenges are introduced to society due to the emerging technology of advanced robotics. They point towards the flourishing role of robots in society - from security to sex - and survey numerous ethical and social issues. These issues are divided into three categories; safety and errors, law and ethics, and social impact. Lin et al. argue that these future robotic technologies, first and foremost, need to be safe, while they point towards examples of where this went wrong in the past. They argue that with robotics, the safety issue is with their software and design. Errors and vulnerabilities are likely to exist. These errors and vulnerabilities could lead to fatal results when it comes to robotics. Furthermore, linked to the risk of robotic errors, it may be unclear who is responsible for any resulting harm. Product liability laws are largely untested in robotics and, continue to evolve in a direction that releases manufacturers from responsibility, e.g., end-user license agreements in software.

It is argued that one way of minimising the risk of harm from robots is to program them to obey our laws or follow a code of ethics. That is, however, easier said than done as laws can be vague and context-sensitive. It is further argued that `even the three (or four) laws of robotics in Asimov's stories, as elegant and sufficient as they appear to be, create loopholes that result in harm'. The importance of privacy and laws concerning this privacy are touched upon. To make things worse, ethical and cultural norms, and therefore law, vary around the world, so it is unclear whose ethics and law ought to be the standard when it comes to robotics. Such challenges could require international policies, treaties, and even laws. Other questions regarding the social impact are: `What is the predicted economic impact of robotics?', `How do we estimate the expected costs and benefits?', and `Are some jobs too important or too dangerous for machines to take over?'. The article presents many questions on which the answers can vary a lot. One thing the article makes clear, however, is that we have to start thinking about these challenges already.

Policing Police Robots[15]

Joh argues that as there will be changes in healthcare, manufacturing, and the military due to robots, these robots also have the potential to produce tremendous changes in policing. She argues that we can expect that at least some robots used by the police in the future will be artificially intelligent machines capable of using legitimate coercive force against human beings. She does not explicitly state whether she thinks this is a good thing or not. She continues by bringing up the assumption that police robots may decrease dangers for police officers by completely removing these officers from situations that have the potential to be dangerous. Moreover, those suspected of crimes may risk less injury if robots can assist the police in conducting safer detentions, arrests, and searches. On the flip side, however, the use of robots also introduces new questions and challenges about how democratic norms and laws should guide decisions made by the police. Joh argues that these questions have yet to be addressed systematically. Furthermore, she states that how we design and regulate some uses of police robots requires a regulatory agenda right now in order to address the foreseeable problems of the future.

Privacy and drones: Unmanned aerial vehicles[16]

In the paper, Cavoukian discusses, amongst other things, privacy concerns associated with the deployment of UAV technology. Furthermore, the paper addresses the privacy concerns by showing how privacy by design approach can assist in ensuring that the benefits of drones are facilitated whilst reducing privacy issues. Due to the manner in which drones may collect information, they pose privacy issues. The sensor equipment on board of drones may be commonplace in the consumer marketplace. However, drones have the ability to gather information dynamically from vantage points where for example regular video surveillance cameras or the camera of peoples phones could not reach. Since these drones are able to gather information so dynamically, on private property, for example, it creates these privacy concerns. Especially since the drone market is growing so much for the consumer market. Now, if drones were to be designed with privacy in mind, the privacy concerns of the drone could be addressed appropriately. That is, drones should have privacy built into the system, the equipment on the drone should not monitor any private areas — for example, the insides of public washrooms, or peoples homes/backyards, and so forth.

Anti-drone flight protection systems and methods[17]

This patent, owned by Etak Systems LLC, a telecommunications company in the US, describes the user of Geo-fencing to avert unmanned aerial vehicles. It describes the use of transmitting geo-fence coordinates, avoidance commands or disruption of radio communication in order to avoid UAV's entering no-fly zone. The patent describes various flow diagrams dictating how a UAV should receive, process and respond to avoidance commands transmitted over cellular networks, or between other UAVs. It assumes flowcharts for cooperating drones, where the main focus of the technology is collision and object avoidance, as well as procedures for the save removal of distressed (low battery, mechanically malfunctioning) or rogue UAVs. The latter flowcharts consider mandatory "kill commands" the UAV is expected to follow, leading to a safe and immediate emergency landing, or, in the case of rogue drones, transmission of a signal interrupting the communication associated with the UAV.

Exploring civil drone accidents and incidents to help prevent potential air disasters[18]

Following an alleged drone collision with an Airbus A320 owned by British Airways at Heathrow Airport, the need to understand accidents and incidents involving drones arose. In this paper, Wild, Murray, and Baxter analyse and discuss one hundred and fifty-two events involving drones, or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). Differences were found between events involving these RPAS and events involving Commercial Air Transportation (CAT), where these events were categorized by their type, the specific safety issue, and the phase of flight. It was found that, compared to CAT, events involving RPAS more frequently involved a loss of control during flight, events occurring during takeoff, and general issues with the involved equipment. In the analysed events, technology factors, rather than human factors, contribute the most to these accidents and incidents involving RPAS. This article is part of our literature study as it provides more context on various events involving RPAS.

Determination and Evaluation of UAV Safety Objectives [19]

As the integration and acceptance of UAVs in society grows, so does the need for appropriate security measures when these UAVs carry out operations in civilian airspace. In this article, Clothier and Walker discuss the safety measures surrounding UAVs and the need for developers, operators, and regulators of UAVs to prove that they have at least the same level of safety standards as human-piloted aerial vehicles. The paper defines various safety objectives of UAVs, the impact of these safety objectives and their applications on the design and operation of UAVs, and the societal acceptance of the risk factors surrounding UAVs. It is of value to our research as it provides a base analysis of safety objectives of UAVs, and the findings of this work can be used to define appropriate countermeasures for (civilian operated) UAVs.

An innovative response to commercial UAV menance - Anti-UAV falconry [20]

This paper from the Educons University in Serbia, talks about how UAV Falconry, i.e. the use of Birlds like Eagels to attack undeisred UAV's. It shows that the use of animals in security related tasks has been done for thousands of years. Recently, the Dutch national police has partnered with private enterprises to train eagles to track and hunt down drones. The paper then discusses many drone related incidents that would have been prevented by the use of these falconry. The enterprise ersponsible for training the eagles is Guard From Above, describes their method as “a low-tech solution for a high-tech problem”. The use of Eagles is pretty compelling due to their natural talent for mid-air combat, their massive speed advantage compared to drones and the easy of training. However the solution was also criticised in the paper as being expensive, and limited to situations where birds could safely fly. The competition from other systems would deem this technology hard to justify in the future.

Taking Flight: The Future of Drones in the UK [21]

The UK is one of the countries at the forefront of the rapidly developing market of commercial UAVs. The public sector employs UAVs to great effect, for example in emergency search and rescue operations, and assist people working in hazardous sector to reduce the risk their job exposes them to. However, sparked by the recent disruptions of operation at Gatwick airport, among others, the government of the United Kingdom presented this document in January 2019 outlining the coming regulations in the drone sector. Existing regulations prohibit drone use near people or property in the UK, as well as requiring the drones to follow a flight path where it stays within line of sight of the operator. The government of the UK outlines in more detail the coming regulations, where they aim to work together with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as well as drone manufacturers, in an attempt to ensure safety and security in the airspace while civil aircraft become more popular.

Defense against drones [22]

As a company specialising in X, Battelle has expertise in the areas of communications, electronic warfare and its countermeasures. They recognise that the growing popularity of UAVs poses real dangers to government and privately owned agencies, officials and assets. To serve the growing need for countermeasures against unwanted UAV presence, Battelle has created a focus area for counter unmanned aerial systems (cUAS). Their current top of the line product is aptly named the DroneDefender, and disrupts the remote control systems and GPS systems of unwanted UAS. Their product presents one possible solution for the problem presented in our study and is therefore of great use to our work.

Counter-unmanned aerial vehicle system and method[23]

This patent, owned by Lockheed Martin Corp, an aerospace and defence company in the US, describes the use of nets to capture and eliminate unmanned aerial vehicles. The patent shows a variety of methods that these nets can be deployed, from small nets attached to other UAVs to large parachute-like nets attached to larger UAVs or small aerocrafts. The patent also discusses the use of passive capturing methods, where a net is suspended from a parachute and deployed from a UAV, using trajectory calculations an enemy UAV could be captured from above.

Deterent for unmanned aerial systems[24]

This patent of a joint invention by three inventors describes an invention meant to fill the need for an integrated system and method of detecting, tracking, identifying and deterring the approach of unwanted UAVs. The patent further describes various systems, specifically for drone detection, classification, interdiction and countermeasures. It describes the differences between Human-in-the-loop (HIL) countermeasures and automatic countermeasures.

EU aviation agency publishes new drone framework[25]

This opinion from the European Union Aviation Safety Administration states their opinioon on the widespread ise of UAV's. They beleive that the use of unmanned aircraft systems beyond the visual line of sight are of danger to airlines and other uses of airspace. Hence they propose that all hobbysists should register for an official flight plan in advance. The agency further wishes to distinguish 2 categories for drone usage, The open category covers drones of a mass between 250 grams and 25kg. Their maximum permitted operating height is given by EASA as 120m, or 394ft. They are free to be used as long as the vehicle remains in line of sight. The principle behind specific, or specified, drone flights is that the operator must “declare” them in advance to a regulator. At the time of writing the opinion is still pending.

Gatwick spends 5 million pound on anti drone measures [26]

As a response to the drone incident in december 2018, Gatwick airport has decided to invest in the use of anti drone measures. The airport has partnered with US airports to prepare against potential future attacks. Although the article does not show what exact instruments are to be used, it does show that the need for this technology is imminent. The article shows that anti-drone technology is now more important than ever and comanies like Gatwick airport are willing to invest a lot into current technology, as to avoid incoveniences to it's passengers and the fines resulting from the 140000 standed passengers.

Project setup


We now take a look at how we will approach this project. As is customary with open projects, we will start our approach by doing an extensive study into the current state of the problem. We will do this by studying the literature of different forms. We will look at papers where this problem has been discussed before, but also at what the current solutions are at the moment and what their flaws are. Furthermore, we also look at studies and research of institutes that have made investigations into this phenomenon.

After we as a group have a good grasp on the problem, we analyse the problem ourselves from a USE (User, Society, Enterprise) point of view. These three components will be central in our study and the development of our design as the users of the technology always need to be the main focus. Following this study into the USE aspects surrounding our problem space, we expect different categories of subproblems to arise. For example, when considering two distinct incidents involving UAVs, they might be categorized by the type of failure that occurred, be it human failure or technical failure. We expect that many of these distinctions can be made, and as different categories of subproblem might involve different USE aspects, they might require different solutions.

After this, we will provide possible solutions for a number of distinct problem categories. First, we set up a list of requirements and functionalities centred around the user. For each discussed problem category, we will then present multiple implementations of these requirements and functionalities, which will be our first drafts. These draft solutions will be further discussed and analyzed based on their advantages and disadvantages. We will also provide research into the feasibility of these proposed solutions.

As the discussed subproblems heavily integrate with various aspects of society, we are also interested in the ethical aspects of the evolution of the proposed technologies of counter-drones. We will investigate the ethical and regulatory consequences of these developments. We might also provide insight into which areas of the problem space have not been sufficiently discussed by previous research and falls outside the scope of ours. For future reference, we also look ahead and shortly discuss improvements or otherwise changes to our proposed solutions, that are not currently possible due to technical or other limitations. Finally, we will wrap up with completing the wiki and our documentation of the project.


We now take a look at the planning of the project. The planning is presented in the form of an excel sheet that clearly states the tasks that need to be carried out, by whom these tasks will be carried out, an estimation of the time that it takes to carry this task out, if the task has been completed or not, and when it needs to be completed. Furthermore, an orange cell indicates that this will be done during a group meeting, and a blue cell indicates that this will be done outside of a meeting. Note that this planning also considers the division of work to a large degree.


We now consider the milestones within the project. Here, we consider Table 1 that displays the accomplishments on a specific date. Furthermore, if there were any learning moments during each of these accomplishments, they will be written down in the `Aditional notes' column and taken into consideration for the next accomplishment. Note that this table will be regularly updated throughout the course.

Table 1: Milestones
Date Accomplishment Additional notes
06/02/2019 Finalise the decision of the subject N/A
Finalise research into State of The Art
Formulate analysis of problem space
Formulate possible solutions to identified problems
Formulate advantages and disadvantages of each solution
Formulate possible further improvements
Formulate conclusions regarding proposed solutions
Create presentation format of our research
Present complete research
Finalise the Wiki and documentation


We now cover the deliverables of this project. The deliverables focus on the problem introduced in the problem description. These deliverables for this project will be as follows:

  • A presentation regarding the problem and possible solutions.

This presentation will be held in the final week of the course. In this presentation, we start by introducing a problem through a summary of the problem description. Then, the finding regarding the problem will be presented. This is followed by multiple solutions to the problem with their advantages and disadvantages. Then, we zoom into the `best' solution and provide a design regarding this solution. If possible, a demonstration will also be given.

  • A Wiki page in the form of a literature research

This Wiki page contains an in-depth study regarding the problem introduced in the problem description. An extensive literature study will be presented, which offers multiple solutions with both their advantages and disadvantages. Furthermore, it will be argued what solution would be the `best'. This is followed by areas that are still undiscovered and improvements that can be made to our design.

USE aspects


There are multiple stakeholders involved in a solution to the problem introduced in the problem description. By far the largest and most diverse category of stakeholders consists of those parties that are (majorly) disadvantaged by unauthorized or unwanted UAV operations, or malicious events that could follow. We can identify several subcategories of stakeholders whose material possessions or immaterial values are at stake.

The most important users are as follows:

  • The Government

As the governing body, a collection of many large instances with national interests, the government of a nation aims to preserve the material and immaterial assets of its citizens. This goal might be obstructed by the unwanted presence of UAVs or events caused by them.

  • Non-governmental organizations

Includes companies or other privately owned bodies that want to protect their material assets against damage from UAV incidents, or protect immaterial assets such as privacy or intellectual property that could be violated by unwanted presence of UAVs.

  • Civilians or individuals in general

Civilians or individuals in general are also stakeholders in the problem space that we consider. They might have their assets violated in some way by UAVs or UAV related events, such as civilian espionage empowered by UAVs. Since drone flight is growing as a commercial pass-time, more specifically the operation of drones by civilians for fun is becoming more popular, this user group must also be considered as a stakeholder from this perspective.


The society as a whole is affected by the already existing and upcoming dangers of drones. First of all, drones can be a huge hindrance at for example airports (Gatwick airport), football stadiums or other public places. However, apart from simple hindrance, drones can also be extremely dangerous for society, as they can be weaponized and used by terrorists, the military or any other person with bad intentions. Furthermore, more and more people are using drones privately, causing privacy issues for society, as these drones are equipped with a camera most of the times and can easily reach private places. This is why drone interception is so important to society. If there were to be a tool that could detect, identify and neutralize drones, this could help in a decrease of hostile drones and thereby also decrease the aforementioned dangers that drones bring to society.


Enterprise is greatly affected by the illegal use of drones, for example, the airlines at Gatwick lost a lot of revenue due to delayed flights and passenger compensation. The airport itself also suffered from the forced shutdown. Other industries are also threatened by drones, espionage via drones can be done remotely, where attackers may steal a company secrets through aerial photography or by taking pictures through windows. Hence the development of anti-drone will be of enormous benefit to existing enterprises but also spark new business opportunities for security contractors and UAV oriented startups.




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