Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Security: The European Approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Civil unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as drones, have many useful applications but can also be used to intentionally cause harm. Additionally, drones themselves can be subject to unlawful interference. In this article, I analyze how European Union’s new rules on drones affect such security threats. I argue that the rules on protecting drones from unlawful interference are promising, although the required security features can also be abused by rogue operators. The intentional misuse of drones, however, is not much deterred by the rules that seek to protect persons and property from such misuse. Rules concerning the operator and the pilot assume compliance, the mandatory technical safeguards can be circumvented, and oversight is difficult because drones are mostly operated from outside airports in a distributed manner. One way to fill the security gap is to employ anti-drone technology that detects drones and prevents them from entering sensitive airspace without permission. Although many airports have already adopted such technology, the EU should consider making it mandatory for the busiest airports. Regardless of rules enacted by the Union, though, reliable and safe means of stopping unlawful drone operations should be employed at critical locations. This applies also to areas like prisons and power plants, the protection of which falls within the ambit of national security.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJOURNAL OF TRANSPORTATION SECURITY
Pages (from-to)1-19
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Sep 2019
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed