Use of drones in the civil and recreational field without risks

The growing use of drones by private individuals outside the sphere of defence and government is growing. In recent years we are seeing a significant increase in the sale of drones in the mini category (<4Kg) with a short-to-medium range (up to 10 km) for recreational or industrial use. The sale of drones for civilian use increased worldwide by 34.3% in 2017 to reach a figure of 6 billion dollars, according to an estimation by Gartner.

The Drones Report, which was published in 2017 by BI Intelligence, encapsulates and gives an in-depth analysis of the growth of the global commercial drone industry, with five-year forecasts, one of the most relevant data in the sale of consumer drones, which is estimated to quadruple. This increase will also be mirrored in the business sector, foreseeing that regulations in the different countries will allow their use for business applications.

As for the industrial sectors, right now the audiovisual industry is the one showing the greatest interest in the use of these devices. However, there are other industries in which we are already foreseeing the use of drones as a source of information and high-value data compilation, such as the management and maintenance of infrastructures, construction, power stations, security companies, agriculture and transport of goods, among others.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

This increase in the use of drones in the civilian sphere is also occurring in Spain. In the national market, 2018 saw the publication of the Strategic plan for the development of the civilian drone sector in Spain by the Ministry of Development, which points to a very high growth outlook in the medium term owing to the industry’s potential for innovation and continuous technological advance.

According to this plan, in the European Union (EU) it is estimated that there is a fleet of between 1 and 1.5 million drones for civilian use, a figure reached mainly due to the strong growth of drones for recreational use, with increases exceeding 100% annually in recent years. Of the above figures, it is calculated that 10,000 drones are for professional use.

Among the risks we may face with drones depending on the environment, intentional incidents may occur such as terrorist attacks or unauthorized access to facilities for industrial espionage or data theft as well as unforeseen incidents that could be classed as accidents, such as collision, interference in communications, incidents with GPS or those derived from neutralizing a drone.

This means that the proliferation of drones and their use entails a series of risks for the security of citizens, of critical installations, buildings, businesses, etc. This has led to the creation of a new type of product in the market of Defence and Security, the anti-drone systems (C-UAS), which detect, track, identify and neutralize drones when they are operating in areas where their use is prohibited for reasons of security.