German counter-drone company Aaronia has landed a huge contract with one of Europe’s busiest airports.
The company recently announced taking on London’s Heathrow airport as a new client, deploying an array of drone-detection measures across the entire facility. Last year, the British airport made headlines after a drone sighting sparked a halt in departures.
“The safety and security of our passengers and colleagues is our number one priority,” Heathrow director of security Jonathan Coen said. “That is why we’re investing in this new cutting-edge technology, such as (among others) Aaronia’s drone defense system, which will enhance our capabilities in the detection and deterrence of drones in and around our airfield.”
“This new kit will enhance detection capabilities and minimize delays, helping passengers to get away on time,” an Aaronia spokesperson stated. “The technology will also help the airport to meet its sustainability objectives, by reducing the fuel wastage and additional flight stacking caused by unauthorized drones use.”
Aaronia’s AARTOS system can detect drones up to 30 miles out and provide a rogue aircraft’s location well as its pilot’s. The array includes an AI-based multi-target image and RF pattern recognition function and optical triangulation with multiple PTZ cameras.
The contract is part of the UK’s 2019 strategy to “ensure individuals, businesses and emergency services in the UK can continue to harness the economic and social benefits of drones, while cracking down on misuse and disruption.” The government also launched a mobile counter-drone unit and other measures to include:
- “The Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill, which will give police increased powers to tackle illegal drone use;
- A national standard for police recording of illegal drone activity to help build a picture of the drone threat;
- National guidance for police to assist them during malicious drone incidents.”
Over the next few years, the British government will also work with partners like Aaronia to catalog approved counter-drone technology “to assure police and the owners and operators of critical national infrastructure sites that they are investing in the most effective and appropriate technology,” according to the government statement.
The exploding counter-drone industry could top almost $2 billion by 2024. As drone use grows, many public agencies and companies are seeking anti-drone solutions to stop drones from flying over restricted or unsafe locations such as wildfire zones, nuclear power plants, prisons and airports.