Stadiums and Arenas are keeping the good drones in, and the spies out with Dedrone


Filmmakers are always looking for a new way to tell a story, and drones with cameras provide an advanced perspective never seen before, with breathtaking views and new vantage points. We’ve seen them flying in fleets at the Super Bowl, capturing close-up views of performers, and granting audiences a chance to watch as if they’re onstage or on the field. However, when airspace is unprotected, rogue drones can interrupt play, threaten the safety of spectators and infrastructure, and pose unique legal implications for athletes and performers.

There are many examples of how drones are disrupting professional events, such as at the U.S. Open,Wimbledon and the Rio Olympics. The summer season grants us outdoor games and shows, and we expect to see an increase in drone sightings and interruptions over the next few months at stadiums. Significant measures are taken to ensure the security of patrons and performers, including gates, fences, metal detectors and bag inspections, but a stadium’s airspace is exceptionally vulnerable as it is unprotected and there is no border to prevent an aerial threat. Not only do they hold thousands of people and players, but also these games and shows may have proprietary content or contracted to be broadcast through a media outlet, causing concern for intellectual property and copyright infringement. See more on what Dedrone is working on with the New York Mets and Citi Field, here.

Dedrone works with arenas and stadiums by setting up the DroneTracker software platform, providing airspace monitoring, which is displayed on a convenient browser interface. Drones have a unique communication signal which can be detected through cameras, Wi-Fi and radio frequency, allowing users to identify whether the aerial threat is a drone or other aircraft, such as a blimp over a stadium. This is also how security officers can to distinguish between an approved drone, like those at the Super Bowl, instead of rouge drones.

When a drone is detected, there are measures that stadiums and arenas can take. Dedrone’sDroneTracker has a sensor which allows for an accurate reading of the direction of the drone. A tailgater may be flying around in the parking lot before a game or waiting to find a home run or foul ball, such as the infamous “splash hits” at the Giant’s McCovey Cove.  DroneTracker can help a security guard locate the pilot, reaching a resolution. In a situation where a pilot cannot be located, security officers can move patrons away from a hovering drone, deploy the closure of a retractable roof, or even emit an alert or light into a drone camera, to prevent it from taking unauthorised footage. Dedrone works with each customer on an individual basis to ensure the DroneTracker automatically deploys the solution that fits their individual needs.

The risk of drones in stadium and arena airspace is becoming increasingly apparent, especially as drones become accessible to any user, carry payloads from grammes to hundreds of pounds, and have limited laws barring operation. Arenas and stadiums will need to consider what sort of protection they want to provide their spectators and performers from aerial threats as a part of their overall security program ecosystem.

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