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Technology

 

Sky Fence stops drones flying over prison

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A British prison has become the world’s first to use a new system designed to stop drones flying over perimeter walls to drop contraband.

The device creates a 2,000ft (600m) shield around and above a prison that will detect and deflect the remote-controlled devices, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The system uses a series of “disruptors to jam the drone’s computer and block its frequency and control protocols. 

When the drone is blocked it is returned to where it came from. The new system, called Sky Fence, is being introduced at Les Nicolles prison on Guernsey, where around 20 “disruptors” will be installed on the perimeter and inside.

Drones have become a major security problem in Britain’s prisons and are increasingly used to smuggle in drugs, weapons, phones and other valuables.

Sky Fence has been created by UK companies Drone Defence and Eclipse Digital Solutions. Nottingham-based company Drone Defence has worked on the idea in the past year.

Founder and CEO Richard Gill said: “It disrupts the control network between the flyer and the drone. The drone then activates return to home mode and it will then fly back to the position where it had signal with its flyer.”

The Channel Island jail was initially going to install a drone detection system, but went a step further to put in the technology that stops drones in-flight.

Prison governor David Matthews said: “This is the first time this technology has been used in any prison anywhere in the world.

“I would like to see it adopted in other UK prisons because it has become a significant problem there. Drones can carry weapons, contraband, mobile phones and drugs. This is about prevention.

“[It has been] described as the final piece in a prison’s security puzzle. I think it could have a significant worldwide impact.”

Gill said the technology is perfectly safe and does not “hack” or damage the drones. Depending on the size of the prison, costs range from £100,000 to £250,000.

Image: Drone Defence/SWNS

It disrupts the control network between the flyer and the drone. The drone then activates return to home mode and it will then fly back to the position where it had signal with its flyer.– Richard Gill, Drone Defence