Seemingly every month, news reports detail a drone interfering with commercial aircraft, or creating another safety risk. There’s less about invasion of privacy issues, but they occur, too. Similar problems exist for megayachts. Paparazzi have been using drones in ports and offshore to capture footage of owners and guests for some time. Security consultants believe the safety threat is on the rise as well. Drones are increasingly capable of carrying loads. They’ve already delivered gas attacks and explosives on land. Martek Marine, focused on ship safety, performance, and crew welfare, agrees. It created the D-Fence system specifically for superyachts to detect and, more important, defeat drones.
“Drone technology offers some amazing opportunities within the luxury-yacht sector,” explains Paul Luen, Martek’s CEO. “But, as ever, ‘bad actors’ will seek to use the technology for nefarious purposes.” D-Fence, usable regardless of weather conditions, detects drones upwards of 12 miles (20 kilometers) away. In fact, it provides you and your crew with the drone’s GPS location, as well as that of the operator. It also provides you with the drone’s speed and heading. This lets you determine whether someone is harmlessly playing around, or truly posing a threat.
So, how do you know there’s a threat? You can program perimeters around your yacht, and D-Fence alerts you if the drone crosses them. Equally helpful, D-Fence allows escalating stage alarms. For example, you and your crew may decide a five-mile distance is monitor-worthy, yet not worrisome. But, if the drone crosses beyond it to, say, a one-mile perimeter, you may feel that’s trouble.
Detection is one thing; defeating a drone is another. Therefore, the system enables creating a wide exclusion zone, exceeding 1,640 feet (500 meters). If a drone reaches this boundary around your yacht, D-Fence jams its signal. When the electronic connection between a drone and its operator interrupts, the drone automatically either lands or returns to the operator.
Based in the UK, Martek is shipping D-Fence worldwide.