Tuesday, 17 September 2019

BT delivers Counter Drone Solution for Enterprise customers



By Simon Wingrove, Director of Strategy and Incubation at BT

Many will recall the Gatwick Airport drone incident that occurred late last year. Over three days, drones were seen flying over aeroplane runways, causing hundreds of flights to delay or cancel, and displacing 140, 000 passengers. For Gatwick Airport, this caused major chaos, cementing this as the biggest disruption since ash from an Icelandic volcano shut down the Airport in 2010.

Drones are one of the biggest technology innovations of this era, having improved emergency services and disaster relief programs. However, with the increased use and popularity of drones, the number of drone-related incidents in the UK has also risen, with issues involving civil aircraft alone rising 29% last year, according to UK Airprox Board.


The domino effect of drone incidents is significant. In addition to the cancelled flights, the Gatwick Airport drone attack cost the airport £1.4 million, impacted many scheduled airlines and caused thousands of travellers heading into Christmas to re-plan their travels. And this seems to be a reoccurring concern. Just last week, activists pushed forward with plans to disrupt Heathrow Airport with drone activity for a week-long protest, potentially grounding flights from September 13th.

To help combat this rising concern, we’ve partnered with DroneShield to deliver a counter-drone service to help organisations like airport operators detect intruding drones and protect themselves and the community from threats to privacy, security and safety.

Our Counter Drone Solution determines if a drone poses any risk to the surrounding infrastructure and has an operating range of up to 5km and 360-degree detection coverage. The BT system will continuously monitor the surroundings and provide early warnings, so security teams are equipped to identify, assess and respond to threats.

Inbuilt tools will gather, process and report information back to the organisation in real-time, providing the necessary evidence that is required for reporting and for an organisation to build up knowledge about drone activity on its site so that preventative measures can be put in place.

Where legal, our counter-drone solution also provides a range of countermeasures, such as fixed signal blockers that can jam drones up to 1.5 kilometres away, to portable disruptors that will help to deter and defeat drones.

We’re able to deliver this technology with DroneShield, whose products have been used at a variety of sites and events, including the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea, and by several high-profile defence organisations such as The British Army and the U.S. Department of Defense.

With the recent disruptions at Gatwick and Heathrow airports, and the continued use of commercial and private drones across the UK and internationally, there is a real need for counter-drone capabilities for the UK’s critical infrastructure.

Our world-leading expertise in communications and networked IT services, combined with DroneShield’s expertise in the counter-drone space, will help empower organisations – hospitals, airports, large venues and prisons – with a best in class, integrated and secure drone detection solution. As we roll out this innovation, we’re looking forward to continuing our conversations with Enterprise customers across a range of industries and demonstrating how this counter-drone solution is helping some of UK’s largest and most important businesses.
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