Preventing illegal and malicious use of UAVs means authorities, airports and mission critical operations must be able to track them. Today, drones can be tracked using radar and other technologies such as RF scanners, radar and acoustic sensors.
Radio-frequency scanners check the electromagnetic spectrum within the protected area to recognize any form of communication between a drone and its controller. However, RF scanners are only effective in the presence of radio signals. Drones that rely on GPS and don’t use signals can’t be detected using this method.
Radar uses radio frequency (RF) waves, and can be used to identify drones in a given area, whether they use RF, GPS, Wi-Fi or cellular communication. Radar detection relies on an object's radar cross section (RCS) which is essentially its level of detectability when radar signals are reflected off surfaces, and are most effective in detecting surfaces like metals. However, since any flying object, including birds, can be detected, this method requires high-definition radar and the use of a database of "signatures." Increasingly, AI and machine learning support precise, rapid identification of drones by radar.