British GPS jamming drone crashes causing safety hazards

According to a report from the British Airways Accidents Committee, a drone in the UK crashed into a house and fell outside due to GPS interference. The 25-pound drone fell from a height sufficient to cause serious injury or death, but fortunately no one was present.

The second drone sent to the crash site suffered almost the same fate.

The incident occurred during a routine construction site survey conducted in December using the DJI Matrice 600 Pro. The DJI Matrice 600 Pro is essentially an enlarged version of DJI's popular consumer quadcopter. Operators had previously detected interference to satellite navigation signals, but this did not cause any serious problems. However, during the last launch, the drone soared to an altitude of one hundred feet and reported a GPS compass error.

In this case, the drone will automatically return to manual flight mode and hover in place. It uses air pressure sensors to maintain altitude, but without knowing its movement relative to the ground, it drifts with the wind. Normally, the operator will control the aircraft, but in this case, they will be surprised that the drone sails behind the trees with a strong wind of 15 miles per hour and disappears from the sight and manual control range of the industrial site Outside.

The drone maintains its altitude, but the rising ground means that when it reaches a residential area a few hundred meters away, it is on the roof. It hit the house, the rotor was damaged, and it fell into the garden.

According to the British DROPS work safety standards, a blunt object weighing 4 pounds (in this case, the height of the fall) dropped from a height of six meters may even cause injury or death to a person wearing a helmet. The weight of the drone is six times its weight, and there is a correspondingly high risk of injury.

The drone operator launched a second drone to search the crash site because he didn't know where it was. This also led to signal glitch errors, and the second drone landed quickly and safely.

The source of interference has not yet been determined. It may come from a GPS jammer. These devices are sold as "data protection devices" and can be purchased on the Internet for $30. It is legal to own these, but it is illegal to operate in the UK. Truck drivers and others who do not want to record the location of their vehicles but interfere with all GPS receivers in their sight usually use them. GPS signals from satellites in orbit are very weak, equivalent to car headlights at 19,000 kilometers. Therefore, it can easily be overwhelmed by nearby transmitters, which are not more powerful than mobile phones.

WiFi Frequency blocker

The incident has raised questions about the safety of civilian drones, especially large drones that pose a significant risk of injury. Planned drone delivery services, such as Google togetL 0.0% Wing and Amazon Prime Air, require powerful navigation capabilities that will not deviate from course or crash when interfered by GPS. Especially when there are many people who don't like drones flying over cities and are ready to take action against them. Accidental GPS interference is also a growing problem. In the United States, there is concern that Ligado Networks' 5G transmitter will interfere with accurate GPS within three kilometers (the same as survey drones).

The incident also highlighted the need for military drones to use navigation methods other than GPS. Now, military-grade GPS jammers and anti-theft devices that provide wrong locations are used as anti-drone defenses. Iran claimed that it used GPS to deceive the US RQ-170 outpost in 2011 to crash. This kind of equipment is increasingly available in the commercial sector and may come from China, which seems to be using the technology to protect government assets.

GPS is a military system operated by the US Air Force. Currently undergoing an upgrade, called GPS Block III, which is worth more than 5 billion US dollars. However, doing so does not necessarily help prevent such incidents.

Dana Goward, Chairman and Director of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation, said: "Low power consumption means that GPS is indeed very easy to destroy." "GPS III provides special equipment for military users to improve its resistance to congestion, but 99% of civilians The user has no additional benefits at all."

Goward said that GPS is feasible and powerful and more resistant to local interference means building a broader infrastructure and integrating powerful ground transmitters and satellites.

"We must consider the overall architecture. What we need is a layered architecture with GPS and other satellites, such as eLoran, which can achieve powerful, terrestrial, and difficult-to-break regional coverage, as well as Wi-Fi, cellular towers, and inertial systems. And other methods for the local layer," Goward said. .

A drone crash with no casualties in the UK does not seem to be a big deal. But some people may think this is a sign of coming.