Safe flight in the u-space
Safe flight in the u-space(0-120 meter above the ground) is only possible if we know what is flying around in it.
There are four sorts of flying objects.
Drones registered through an UTM system or drones visible through DroneRadar24.nl
Non UTM registered drones or illegal drones
Airplanes, helicopters, gliders, paragliders, model airplanes, etc
Registered drones via an UTM
Using an UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) you can follow all current and registered drone flights. Current flights can be tracked by using the Remote ID which is connected to an UTM. Registered flights with a broadcast Remote ID have an unknown precise location, but an flightplan with a more generalised area where the drone can be. This is not real-time, so it is important the flightperiod is registered. A UTM has a sort of "deconflicting". This way you can assume that when only registered object fly about, everything should be safe.
Non-registered drones or illegal drones
Non-registered drones are more problematic. These are drones that weigh less than 250 grams, do not have a camera on board, fly max 120 meter high and cannot fly faster than 18m/s. We cannot keep track of all these drons. However they can still very much interfere with other drones. If such a drone were to collide with a airtaxi or a delivery drone, then it would still be problematic. Pilots do have to read the drone manual, but do not have to take any theoretical or practical exams. It is also illegal to fly close to BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) drones or drones in the specific or certified category. Whether or not this actually happens is the question.
Illegal drones will create the biggest danger to a safe U-space. Drone detection is the only way to 'see' the drones, so the UTM can take them into account.
Airplanes, helicopters, gliders, paragliders, model aircrafts, ect.
This group can be devided into two sub-groups. With ADS-B transmitter and without. Everthing that flies should have such a transmitter and is thus trackable. The LVNL is the Dutch agency that connect the ATM and UTM systems.
Model aircrafts do not have to have an identifition method on board. This is not necessary, because they are only allowed to fly up to 300 meter at special model aircraft fields. Drones can easily fly around this.
Big birds (geese, swan, ...) can intersect with drones. Usually they will avoid the drone. Bigger predators might think differently though. To our knowledge there is no solid way to scare these birds away. Thus they can be a danger to the drones. Similar to birds that fly into airplane motors.
At the moment there are existing detection systems that detect drones 10 km around an airport. Usually there is more than one drone radar present that will give accurate information about flying objects.
However the entire country will become an airport soon! Placing drone radarsystem is not desirable and expensive. This is also not viable in an urban environment. Each building creates a blind spot behind it. A strong rader at a higher level is an option, but the resolution will not be high enough to recognize drones.
We could detect moving RF signals higher than 4 meters, but these systems are often brand specific. A RF signal detector has a range of about 10 km, so there would have to be a lot to cover the entire country. Detecting 4G or 5G signals is a bit more of a challenge.
Then there is the drone audio detector. This recognizes the sounds specific to a drone. Using triangulation one can determine the drone's exact location.
Lasty, there are drone cameras with AI detection. These work up to about 4 km and in a small angle (depending in the lens).
The DroneRadar24 app and site shows current drone information and for UTM registered drones also the flight path. Have a look at the DroneRadar24 section on this site or the DroneRadar24.nl site. Everyone can download the app for free and use it (with advertisement). When one uses the camera on your phone or tablet to look at a drone, the app will gather all available information. Because of privacy protection there is only a limited amount of information available to casual users. The app also contains a button with which you can register a drone in the airspace. This way the airspace will be a little bit safer. It is called social drone detection.
Counter drone systems
At some places it is of the essence that drones comply to the rules. Right now these are CRTs (airports), judicial institutions, critical infrastructure (electricity and nuclear power plants, power pylons, ...), nature reserves (Natura2000). One can find all these areas on the no-fly-zone chart from the kadaster. This is the case until the regulation changes. After that there will be a new zoneschart.
The no-fly-zones and zones with specific rules will have to be enforced. From what we know now, this will be done by police in public space and by the army in military space.
There are several sorts of counter drone systems. These are:
Electromagnetic interference from the ground
Laser from the ground
Shooting nets from the ground
Shooting nets from the sky (by drone)
Electromagnetic interference from the sky (by drone)
Counterdrone systems uses electromagnetic interference from the sky (using a drone). Would you like to know more about how we operate, then please contact us.
Owning and/or using Counter drone measures is, in the Netherlands, only allowed by the authorities.