As terrorists continue to explore the possibility of using unmanned aerial drones to carry out attacks, drone manufacturers are devising methods to ensure that their products cannot be used as weapons in any meaningful capacity, FoxNews.com reported Wednesday. By using a technique known as geofencing, drones can be programmed to become inoperable in certain locations, such as near aircrafts and other vulnerable spaces.
One potential avenue of drones as weaponry came to light when a British Airways aircraft hit a drone as it landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday. No injuries were reported and the incident has not been classified as a terrorist ploy, but SITE Intelligence Group reported on Monday that “a jihadist Telegram channel suggested attacking commercial planes with remote-control drones, and forwarded pages of a popular jihadist bomb-making guide.”
In August, The Department of Homeland Security issued a terror warning when three pilots at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York noticed three drones flying near commercial airplanes over a period of three days. The Federal Aviation Administration revealed in a December report that over 240 near-collisions between drones and airplanes have been witnessed over the last two years.
Corporate Communications Director Adam Lisberg of DJI Technology, a leading drone manufacturer, told FoxNews.com that piloting a drone to hit a moving aircraft “would be an unprecedented act of marksmanship.” Still, the company has taken steps to introduce geofencing software that disables its drones under certain conditions that can be changed to fit any number of requirements.
DJI would be able to establish boundaries around certain zones, such as a crowded sports arena or a venue where visiting dignitaries are meeting, where drones would no longer function. Lisberg warned that such measures would not be infallible, though: “Ask people who work in computer security – no matter what you come up with, some clever kid will try to find a way to defeat it,” he said. “You should never look at a technological solution as a panacea for anything.”