DroneShield, UTS announce new AI-based optical drone detection system

DroneShield and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have announced the development of new optical artificial intelligence (AI)- based drone technology to better identify threats from aggressive UAS incursions.

According to a press statement: “In a partnership funded by the NSW and Australian Governments, UTS and DroneShield – an Australian developer of counter-UAS solutions – have produced an optical system for detection, identification and tracking of fast moving threats such as nefarious UAS, comprised of a camera and Convolutional Neural Network (CNN). UTS and DroneShield began working together in October 2019 – just a month after one of the most recent examples of aggressive use of drones when the oil facilities at Abqaiq–Khurais in Saudi Arabia were attacked by a swarm of UASs.  The new technology was recently demonstrated at Sydney Science Park.”

Project lead and Co-Director of UTS Intelligent Drone Lab (IDL) Dr Nabin Sharma said UTS has both expertise and experience in collaborating with industry partners to develop and deliver innovative vision systems for UAVs. This is seen in the multi-award-winning SpotterAI suite of drones (SharkSpotter, CrocSpotter) which identify particular threats to humans and are used to safeguard swimmers, fishers and other marine species. “We are using CNNs and deep learning to provide a solution for DroneShield to identify drones which could be of potential threat,” Dr Sharma said. “The algorithm enables the vision system to see what’s happening, to collate data and process it for ultra-fast image recognition and analysis. This delivers a speedy and efficient assessment of a threat and the decision-making in response to it. The system is able to detect different types of drones and check if there is a payload,” he said.

Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, said “We are pleased to add this ground-breaking technology to our systems, enabling our customers a unique camera-based detection, ID and tracking of improvised threats such as UAS. This project has been a great example of collaboration between an Australian defence industry and an educational institution, promoting development of world leading, cutting edge defence technologies right here in Sydney.”

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