As consumer drone sales continue to soar, industry experts are pushing for more regulations to stop them being used for criminal activities.
The latest report on the drone market from Juniper Research has found that annual revenues from commercial drone sales are expected to reach $481 million this year. But it’s not just the commercial models that are doing well. Before the end of last year, the firm predicted that there would be 20 million consumer drones sold by the end of 2015.
While retailers are taking advantage of the boom in the drone market, with the likes of Maplin even launching its own Drone Academy to help its staff get to grips with the tech to better advise customers, some industry experts are concerned about the lack of regulations surrounding the flying gadgets.
The recent report released by the non-profit group Open Briefing, sheds some light on the potential dangers created by drones.
“Ever-more advanced drones capable of carrying sophisticated imaging equipment and significant payloads are readily available to the civilian market,” reads Open Briefing’s ‘Hostile Drones: The hostile use of drones by non-state actors against British targets’.
“A range of terrorist, insurgent, criminal, corporate and activist threat groups have already demonstrated the ability to use civilian drones for attacks and intelligence gathering. The best defence against the hostile use of drones is to employ a hierarchy of countermeasures encompassing regulatory countermeasures, passive countermeasures and active countermeasures,” states the report.
The piece goes into detail about examples of known drone use by non-state actors, giving descriptions of incidents including a ‘lone wolf’ who was arrested after it was discovered he was planning to play explosive-laden model aeroplanes into the Pentagon, and a Lebanon-based terrorist organisation, which has a history of using drones carrying explosive payloads.
Joerg Lamprecht, drone expert and co-founder of Dedrone has also aired his concerns: “We believe the public wants to fly responsibly, but the reality is drones are more affordable and easy to obtain today and we can’t control who gets their hands on one.
“While the regulations will help, we can’t rely on one single effort to protect us from drone attacks. The best defence is a proactive, multi-layered approach that includes regulatory requirements, active countermeasures, radar detection and drone detection devices,” he said.
Dedrone provides a professional civilian drone early-warning and detection system. The company leverages acoustic and video detection technology to detect the drone threats faced by governments and industry. Once detected, it allows prisons and other facilities to react quickly, gathering contraband, locking down jail cells, and looking for pilots close by.
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