From Their Paper Enabling Self Defense In Small Drones

Drone delivery continues to gain traction throughout the world.  From pizza to human organs drone delivery – with its cost and speed advantages over conventional land based delivery options continues to grow.

Looking ahead some of the advantage of drone delivery, that being delivery at really any time of the day or night makes it potentially harder to prevent theft either by people shooting things and bringing the drone and it’s potentially valuable cargo down and subject to theft.   Something as low-tech as a sling slot and a rock could potentially take down a delivery drone given it’s low flight pattern.

One paper seeks to give some help with this,  titled Enabling Self-defense in Small Drones, by co-authors Nakul Garg, Nirupam Roy of University of Maryland College Park look how using inexpensive senors and the scientific effect called the Doppler effect if they can help to prevent drones delivery drones from being brought down by projectiles such as rocks.

The idea is that the scientific effect called the Doppler effect can be used to protect small drones from projectiles by use of Doppler,  using a sensor the drone can determine quickly if a the projected effect of a projectile (think rock) will either hit the drone or miss the drone.  If it is determined to hit the drone then the drone can take evasive action.

As they write in their paper ” This paper explores the vision of developing low-powersensing -inferencing modules to enable a way of self-defense in resource-constrained robotic vehicles and drones. As a proof of concept, we designed a low-power acoustic system to detect thrown objects at the drone. While there are many scopes for improvement, evaluation of our prototype shows promise. We believe that this research direction can mature to a complete defense solution to such lightweight unmanned aerial systems.”

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