With the “Mission High Precision”, the Galileo Masters 2020 was looking for innovative and application-oriented technologies and solutions for Galileoand other global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). The German Aerospace Center (DLR) set up the DLR challenge “Safety, Cyber Security and High Accuracy meet Autonomy and Automation”. On December 8, 2020, Dr. Saulius Rudys named DLR winner of the Galileo Masters 2020 with his idea of neutralizing GNSS systems of unidentifiable or opposing aircraft without affecting GNSS frequencies. This can increase the security in the airspace and above all, critical infrastructures can be better protected.
Dr. Rolf-Dieter Fischer, chairman of the DLR expert jury, on the decision made: “The winners delivered a very promising solution that was precisely tailored to our tender, which is also new in the professional world. It is very positive that the approach is effective should be against today’s standard drones, which make up most of the UAV. ” According to Fischer, “the proposal has a truly unique position, so that we as the jury clearly voted for it.”
More security and protection against enemy drones
The technologies for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have developed rapidly in recent years. However, these technologies not only offer advantages, but in some cases can also be dangerous. Unmanned aircraft can cause damage to an airport or exploit weak points in other critical infrastructures, for example by transporting illegal objects across the border or using them by terrorists. Mostly, unmanned aerial vehicles use GNSS for navigation, which is why Ruby’s idea aims to neutralize GNSS systems effectively and safely in the event of danger.
Interfering radiation in the GNSS frequency band, i.e. so-called jamming, is the most common neutralization method to render invading UAV harmless. However, such interference can also endanger manned aircraft on the same GNSS frequency and also affect authorized GNSS users. The DLR winner is therefore proposing a new concept for selective GNSS interference: The idea is to use non-linear effects in semiconductor elements and thus intervene in the electronic circuits of UAVs.
Benefits of GNSS selective disruption
The solution offers a new method that neutralizes hostile devices and vehicles using GNSS safely and in a targeted manner. There is no disturbing radiation on the GNSS frequency, which is why other GNSS users are not affected. According to the award winners’ proposal, the selective disruption of the UAV can even be used in airport areas. In addition, the manned aircraft in the beam are safe, as the interference efficiency depends on the distance and performance of the jamming device. The concept also offers the possibility of spatially limiting GNSS interference. As a result, the energy of the high-frequency radiation can be focused into a much narrower beam.
“In addition to the appealing technical development, it is possible to counteract the abusive use of UAVs in a targeted and dosed manner. This means that the general acceptance for autonomous aircraft can be maintained and the required safety and GNSS availability can be achieved at the same time. The winner and the DLR will be now jointly push the development for more control without collateral damage, “concluded Fischer.
Rudy’s novel method addresses a growing problem today. The protection of sovereign and public critical infrastructures as well as private-sector sites is of great importance, which is why this method can offer more security in many parts of society worldwide.