Artificial Intelligence: How Israeli AI is Hunting Down Operators of Hostile Drones

July 14, 2020 | Artificial Intelligence, News
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Israel is using AI to locate the operator of malicious drone(s) trespassing into sensitive territory.

Dr. Gera Weiss and Eliyahu Mashhadi, researchers at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva in southern Israel, have developed an AI-enabled system that pinpoints the location of a person operating an enemy drone using its flight path. (Breaking Defense)

How it works

The researchers are training a machine learning system in a simulated environment. It collects and analyzes the data of a drone’s path from its launch point and during flight.

“We insert all the points along the flight path into a deep neural network that was trained to be able to predict the exact launch point and the location of the drone operator,” Mashhadi said.

On testing with simulated paths, the system was accurate enough to locate the operator of the “hostile” drone 78% of the time.

Limitations of current anti-drone systems

Current methods for locating the operator rely upon the radio frequency (RF) signals exchanged between the enemy operator and his aircraft. These methods also require the placement of sensors around the area. Further, other signals such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and IoT interfere with the process.

RF methods also suffer from certain other limitations. One, they are drone brand-specific. Two, it is only possible to intercept the signals in the proximity of the aircraft. Lastly, sophisticated designers have been known to obfuscate their RF signals using cryptography and electronic warfare techniques.

In contrast, the AI method used by Weiss and Mashhadi relies upon the fact that environmental and physical conditions force the operator to make changes to the drone’s flight. These “reactions” from the operator and their impact on the drone’s path generate clues for the AI about the operator’s location. Sun gazes, obstructions, and other visual effects constitute these tell-tale reactions.

Besides, it’s a fact that in most cases the hostile operator controls multiple drones. It is therefore tactically advantageous to locate and neutralize the operator compared to taking defensive action against the aircraft themselves.

Related Story:  Boeing Delivers AI-Enabled, Jet-Powered Drone to Australian Air Force

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