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Securing the future of drone services

Connected Places Catapult is partnering with IoT security start-up, ANGOKA and Cranfield University to protect drone communications in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Authentication System project.

Forming strategic University partnerships

Protecting drones from cyberattacks

We’re very pleased to be working with ANGOKA and the Connected Places Catapult on this exciting project to protect communication systems for controlling drones in flight and ensure they are able to safely complete their missions, while also protecting the environments around them. There is huge scope for drones and unmanned aerial vehicles to transform air transport activities and services – this project will help to harness that potential in a safe and secure way.

Dr Saba Al-Rubaye
Senior Lecturer in Autonomous and Connected Systems and project lead at Cranfield University

Collaborative partnership takes flight

Connected Places Catapult has developed Deep Academic Alliances with selected UK universities to accelerate the commercial exploitation of research and deliver faster economic impact in the UK.

Cranfield University is one of the UK’s leading research institutions in the field of aerospace innovation, including unmanned aerial vehicles, with a wealth of expertise in areas such as connected and autonomous systems, digital security, and airborne communications technologies.

Together with experts from Connected Places Catapult, Cranfield University and ANGOKA Ltd, a Belfast cybersecurity start-up, the organisations are looking to tackle the innovation issue of secure communications for drone services. Delivery of goods and medicine, search and rescue and infrastructure, agricultural and environmental monitoring are just a few of many use cases that will soon propel drones into everyday life, for business and personal use.

Commercial drone services are an exciting area of opportunity for the UK, with use cases ranging from delivery of goods and medicine, to search and rescue, and infrastructure, agricultural and environmental monitoring.

Among the hurdles to scale the commercial deployment of drones there is the need to ensure that the communications crucial to controlling and flying the drones are protected. Without this key element, drones are at risk of being hacked and hijacked. Securing drone communication ensures that national infrastructure, such as airports and mobile towers, is also protected.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Authentication System (UASAS) project aims to create an authentication system that will provide a trusted identification service for drone usage and protect communications from cyberattacks. Trusted identification will allow organisations to ensure that drones are flying in the right zones and without adverse effects to other parties, increasing overall confidence in drone technology.

Connected Places Catapult’s role in this project has been to produce the technical specifications – a Concept of Operations and set of high level requirements – which will enable the transfer of the ANGOKA technology from its existing applications (primarily in connected ground vehicles) into an Open Access Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) System. The technology has the potential to secure communications for UTM Services such as Remote Identification by employing highly sophisticated hardware-based authentication methodologies.