National Instruments assists SkySafe developers with drone defense systems
- 2020-06-24-

Whether it is Amazon's use of drones to deliver packages, or the use of drones for automatic follow-up of the Olympic ski project, commercial drones are becoming ubiquitous. The emergence of drones has benefited many applications, including the broadcast of sports events and the automation of investigations into wildlife reserves. Based on powerful intelligent software, the price of drones is getting lower and lower, the operation is getting easier, and the battery life is longer. Like other high-tech technologies, offenders will also try to use drones to achieve illegal purposes.

Such incidents have led to the demand for UAV defense systems, and UAV defense systems have emerged. The system has developed rapidly with the increasing frequency and complexity of threats to fight offenders. Most UAV defense systems use various technologies to detect and eliminate threats. These systems will use active and passive radar, and some systems use optical detection technology. Countermeasures are also diverse, including non-destructive communications interception, GPS jamming, and destructive measures such as missile downs or high-power directional laser shots.

From the functional point of view, anti-UAV can be divided into two parts: UAV detection and detection and UAV countermeasure. UAV detection and detection technologies mainly include: radio-based UAV detection and detection, radar-based UAV detection +, and photoelectric-based UAV detection. At present, the three technologies have been applied to security, event protection, border and secret-related areas UAV protection. UAV countermeasures and anti-UAV technologies are mainly divided into three categories. One is interference blocking, which is mainly realized through signal interference, acoustic interference and other technologies. The second is direct destruction, including the use of laser weapons and the use of drones to counter drones. The third is monitoring and control, which is mainly realized by hijacking radio control.

UAV defense systems need to deal with technological development and SWaP challenges

Every year, many smarter new commercial drones are launched, and the command and control (C2) and navigation systems they carry are becoming more and more complex. When the UAV is not directly controlled by the pilot, it is difficult to implement C2 countermeasures; deception or interference is usually used to destroy or shut down the GPS signal. Active remotely piloted drones can provide various communication methods, such as basic analog modulation and a highly secure digital link based on encrypted commands. In the past, traditional high-power interference techniques were often used; however, this approach may cause considerable damage to interested parties and may endanger covert operations. It is a considerable challenge to enable a single defense system to flexibly adapt to different C2 interference methods.

How to keep up with changing technologies and quickly deploy new threat countermeasures? Because the traditional self-developed and self-produced defense project development cycle is very long and cannot meet the needs of the times, many systems have begun to turn to commercial off-the-shelf technologies to speed up the deployment speed for system designers You can focus on studying threat countermeasures instead of hardware implementation.

In addition, although base protection is important, many military operators need to deploy effective countermeasure solutions on vehicles in remote areas. In many cases, their military vehicles cannot accommodate full-scale radar systems (including cameras and destructive countermeasures). And the mobile system must be concealed and able to run for a long time in the execution of tasks; in the end, all problems are attributed to SWaP (size, weight and power consumption). It is critical to choose a platform that can scale from prototype verification to deployment and meet SWaP and radio performance standards.

National InstrumentsHelp SkySafe develop drone defense system

In order to cope with technological development and SWaP challenges, based on NI commercial SDR technology, SkySafe has developed a corresponding system that combines NI SDR with open source software, so that SkySafe can quickly adapt to changing threats by deploying new algorithms and greatly reduce Deployment time and cost of new features.

With the help of NI, the SkySafe UAV defense system combines NI Ettus Research USRP X310 SDR, GNU Radio open source framework and RFNoC (a flexible FPGA framework). The flexibility provided by the USRP X310 makes it ideal for fast-developing, highly adaptable, low-power mobile applications.

SkySafe Chief Technology Officer Scott Torborg said, "We are very happy to have partners like NI join. NI Ettus Research USRP X310 is the only commercial SDR with both openness and original RF and DSP functions, which can meet the rapid changes in the market. Human-machine threat countermeasures. In addition, environmental protection and system robustness were taken into consideration when designing the solution from the very beginning. NI's support for retrofitting the USRP X310 was the key to meeting the SkySafe environmental requirements.