Embry-Riddle team develops drone hijacking technology to secure critical airspace

A drone buzzing where it shouldn’t be? The solution may soon be to hijack the device.

A team of students and professors at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University are teaming with the start-up Drone Defense Systems LLC to create Dronejacking technology.

The technology, still under development, will be a movable, intelligent system that creates a sort-of invisible ‘drone-proof dome’ over a critical spot; places like airports, schools, or even private residences for example. If a drone enters the airspace in the dome, the system will be able to determine if it’s authorized, and if it isn’t the system will be able to hijack control of the aircraft from the unknown pilot and land it somewhere where authorities can respond accordingly.

"This technology will improve the security and safety of the public,” said Jian Wang, an Embry-Riddle doctorial student working on the project.

The team is utilizing a soundproof room to learn the unique languages of drones and develop the system.

"Those frequencies remain in the chamber,” said George Kaminis, CEO and Founder of Drone Defense Systems. “Nothing goes outside, nothing interferes with the environment."

Kaminis said the students, and professor Dr. Houbing Song are developing all the technology on the campus with hopes of testing it and bringing it to its full potential. They also hope to partner with Volusia County, the Daytona Beach Airport, and other entities to bring it all together.

Kaminis said the technology is especially exciting because it could be used in situations where multiple drones were entering an airspace.

"That will stop 1 or 100 drones. It does not discriminate,” said Kaminis.

Kaminis said in his time working on drone defense systems he’s only seen, on the public side, things like drone proof guns or even trained animals to try to take out the unmanned intruders. He said this system will be a massive step forward.

The team is still creating the technology with plans to start prototypes and testing this fall.