DJI AeroScope – supplied by Heliguy – was used to detect drones being flown illegally during the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone.
Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Emergency Services Drone Team used the sophisticated drone-detection system, alongside other software, to help trace rogue unmanned vehicles within the 2.5-mile restricted zone around the circuit.
A small number of drones were detected, with two of them seized over the weekend - having been controlled by pilots on nearby campsites and nearer the circuit by remote pilots seemingly unaware of their responsibilities and limitations as a drone user.
Heliguy – an AeroScope expert – supplied Northamptonshire Emergency Services Drone Team with a portable DJI AeroScope unit; ideal for protecting sensitive airspace on a temporary basis.
HELIGUY AEROSCOPE STATS: Five major airports supported; 10 police forces supported; seven installations completed; 1,414 illegal flights detected and 5,399 drones detected since December 2018
The drone-detection system also comes in a more permanent format – a G8 or a G16 system – however, the portable AeroScope can accommodate the G8 antenna array which allows the detection of drones over a much greater distance. This proved useful over the weekend, with a drone being located well away from the base station. Police off-road motorcycles were then deployed to the area to deal with the remote pilots.
Police 'Really Impressed' With DJI AeroScope
The Grand Prix was the first time that Northamptonshire Police has used the portable AeroScope unit, and the Force was pleased with the results.
PC Alan Hincks, a drone pilot from the Northamptonshire Joint Operations Team, said: “The team was really impressed with DJI AeroScope.
"It was easy to use and gave real-time information allowing the team the capability to respond in a timely manner, on one occasion so quickly the drone never took off and was subsequently turned off, but getting that high-visibility police presence made whoever was responsible think twice.
“It isn’t possible to say with any certainty that the presence of the drone team and the detection equipment, including the AeroScope, prevented any incursion over the circuit; however with the proactive nature of the operation and the multi-agency collaboration, we can safely say that people were not given the opportunity to fly over the circuit.”
PC Hincks said that the Force is keen to add DJI AeroScope to its capabilities in the future, deploying it for other sporting events and concerts.
Northamptonshire Police Using Drones For Good
While Northamptonshire Police is increasing its ability to combat rogue drone use, the Force is also an advocate of UAVs, using them positively for a range of public safety missions, in conjunction with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.
PC Hincks said: “Drones have been really good for us. From a firefighting point of view, they provide vital situational awareness for Fire Commanders, including temperature readings.
“From a police perspective, we have used them for operations such as large area searches and firearms incidents.
“Crucially, drones provide vital information which stops us putting firefighters or police officers at risk. The relationship that we have as a drone team with Heliguy means that if we ever need expert advice or support, they are only a phone call away.”
More About DJI AeroScope And How Heliguy Can Help You
Heliguy is a DJI Gold Partner and has supported five major airports – which cannot be identified for security reasons – as well as 10 police forces with DJI AeroScope.
Since December 2018, our AeroScope installations have managed to detect 1,414 illegal drone flights.
DJI AeroScope tracks drones through the signal between the aircraft and its remote controller and rapidly identifies drone communication links, gathering real-time information such as flight status, paths, serial number, speed, direction and home position, as well as the make and model of the drone.
AeroScope can identify the vast majority of popular drones on the market exceptionally quickly, giving organisations all the information they need in real-time to make informed security decisions about drone pilots in their airspace.
This data can help prevent accidental drone collisions and ensure that all drone pilots are acting within the regulations in place in any given area.
Below are images of the portable (left) and stationary (right) AeroScope solutions.