Drones and other types of UAVs gained massive population in the last years not only in the professional but also in the private sector. Incidences, such as the shutdown of Gatwick airport in London due to sightings of a drone, show that the advances in UAV technology pose a public safety threat which needs to be addressed. Identification of incoming UAVs by any possible means is of paramount priority for situational assessment.
Commercial drone detection systems utilize multispectral detection systems for object detection and identification. An example is depicted in the figure below which detects some object between 5 to 10km away using radar of radio detection methods. Below 1km optical camera-based identification methods are applied to classify the flying object. This leaves in the worst case only 15 seconds to assess the situation.
Our project aims to develop a telescope based optical platform to enable a larger identification area which increases the time for situational assessment significantly. The combination of a precise and fast mount, a high-quality telescope, a camera system and advanced methods of control systems and computer vision create a versatile optical platform for optical detection, tracking and identification of UAVs.
This project is funded by the Austrian defense research programme FORTE of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism (BMLRT).