Image: UK Aircraft Accident Investigation Board

Blog Editor’s Note: We wonder how many UAVs have already been lost because of interference.

The only formal accident report we have seen is from the UK. We imagine there are a lot of incentives for drone operators to not report accidents. In the UK mishap the investigator pointed out that the UAV big enough that it’s crashing could have killed someone. 

Pretty hard to make a more forceful statement about the importance of PNT (at the moment GPS) than the one at the end of the excerpt below.



Why Do We Need to Be Protecting Drone Operations from GPS Interference?

By Danielle Gagne

Because safety is the primary mission for civil aviation authorities all over the world, and we need to meet those safety requirements in order to integrate into the national airspace, ensuring the safety and security of the aircraft is one of the key enablers of the drone industry.  There are a lot of aspects that go into safety that are being addressed such as parachutes, detect and avoid, and the newly released remote ID rule. Yet, something that has been increasingly problematic is how easy it is for consumers and bad actors to interfere with drone navigation systems with relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain tech.

The so-called “clueless, careless, and criminal” produce the bulk of man-made GPS interference.

For a few hundred dollars online, any person can purchase a GPS-jammer that is capable of taking everything within its reach out of service, which could also include your drone. Not all of these purchases are malicious, some are just the result of individuals not trusting or understanding the technology and choosing to utilize it without realizing the consequences. Whether intentional or not, loss of GPS can cut short important missions and pose a threat to the safety of people and property on the ground.

“To give you an idea of just how important GPS is for most unmanned aircraft, it is really the only way that they are able to know where they are and what is around them,” explained Ivan Stamatovski, CTO of Easy Aerial, to Commercial UAV News. “They are literally blind without this.”