Insurance Edge caught up with Gilad Sahar at NSO Group to find out the latest in drone technology, plus learn more about their Eclipse system, which can spot rogue drones, and land them safely.
Insurers need to work with airports, commercial building managers, public infrastructure departments and more, to make sure that people and places are safe from drone disruption.
IE: Drone use is on the increase, but so too is the risk for insurers, tell us more about the technology and how it’s evolving.
NSO: For a few years the main use for drones has been the enthusiast market, with photography or aircraft fans buying them to get some amazing footage. That’s great of course, except when a drone is flying too close to a busy airport, as we saw with the Gatwick shutdown, which cost airlines and insurers a great deal of money.
IE; Can every drone be tracked somehow, so we need an operator database?
NSO; Eclipse can detect a drone by its ID signal and it’s important to note that it doesn’t jam the signal, making the drone crash land. Not every drone has a GPS transponder inside like a plane or boat, but using our method we can see a drone that is charged up and active, even before it starts to fly.
Eclipse doesn’t need line of sight to see the rogue drone and there’s no issue with weather conditions either. It simply takes control of the non authorised drone and then lands it in a designated area.
IE; Liking the sound of that, so it’s a rapid interception and grounding. Ideal for airports, prisons, MOD installations etc. What range does it have?
NSO; Eclipse is a small outdoor device, you can mount it easily on fence or wall and it has a range of about 4Kms. You can set a perimeter using the software, let’s say 1000 metres from the airport’s outer security fence. Once set you can see any activity in that exclusion zone remotely, and it’s all automated so you don’t have to see the drone in real time and make a decision, the system does it by itself, 24/7.
Now say you are building a new bridge, very tall building or power station, whatever and you need to use drones to inspect the project site as the work is ongoing. You can set up a whitelist of approved drones, so they have flight privileges within your designated area. Any other drone ID that is spotted will cause an immediate interception and controlled landing.
IE; Impressive run through on the demo, this could have a variety of uses.
NSO; Yes definitely. Right now we are still seeing very little regulation of the small drone market, ones that weigh under 5Kgs for example. That provides opportunities for smugglers who want to get stuff into prisons or other secure premises. We also see preventing disruption at sporting events as a potential market, as well as protecting sensitive government buildings and vital infrastructure.
IE; Do you think that the insurance industry is ready to build this sort of risk into its Commercial policies in the future, along with this prevention tech?
NSO; This is a challenge for the insurance sector of course and we hope that insurers will build in this prevention tech. More importantly insurers need to advise clients managing big projects, events, airports, theme parks, shopping malls etc. that this is a potentially big risk that can be minimised by being pro-active.
Giving customers the knowledge also gives them the power to reduce the chances of expensive disruption or criminal activity. It’s very much an opportunity for us, the insurance industry and Commercial property managers to forge a partnership that stops rogue drones from flying where they shouldn’t.