Cyber security for the commercial drone industry

​​​​​​​​Drones are classed as Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAVs). The main commercial drone industry players are the drone manufacturers, the drone operators using drones for commercial purposes and the public authorities responsible for citizen safety and security.

There are many applications where commercial drones can be used and drone security is required for all of them. In many countries, drone connectivity will be done via GSM networks to Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) platforms on the ground. In order to ensure drone control and safe flights, UTM platforms will help manage traffic at low altitudes. UTM platforms can be managed by drone operators, under the supervision of governments or by the civil aviation.​

Drone applications can include:​

Drone Delivery 

Major retailers like Amazon, and transporters such as UPS and DHL see a great deal of potential in drone delivery for dispatching small packages over short distances.

Drone Farming 

​Drones offer a cost-effective way to monitor crops to improve management and yields. Drone cameras and infrared sensors can evaluate crop health, allowing farmers to respond with fertilizer or insecticide treatments.

Drone inspection  

Drones can provide high-quality, real-time visual inspection and thermal readings of power lines, oil and gas pipelines, transmission towers, solar arrays, wind turbines and nuclear installations, allowing inspection teams to remain at a safe distance.

Drone construction 

Drones can provide high-quality, real-time visual inspection of all types of construction including buildings and bridges, keeping inspection teams safe. In addition to this, small drones that can access tricky areas can provide a new level of detail to improve performance.

Public Safety drones 
Public Safety

Public safety drones can provide an aerial view to rescue operations so teams can quickly and safely evaluate emergency situations. They are invaluable for search and rescue teams, firefighting, disaster response efforts, and law enforcement.


Cyber​ security concerns for drones 

However, as the use of commercial drones expands, more cyber security concerns need to be addressed for better drone control.

According to a Gartner report from 2016, there will be 10 times more commercial drones than manned aircraft by 2020. Several millions of commercial drones will be flying missions worldwide by 2020, which will drive changes in the industry to accommodate the additional vehicle traffic. Similarly in the US alone, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) forecasts that by 2021, the non-hobbyist fleet will most likely be 10 times larger than it was in 2016.

Drone security issues have already been reported and includes collision risks, drone hacking and privacy concerns to mention but a few.

The FAA has expressed concerns over the number of sightings and recently, the first collision of a drone and a commercial airplane was reported in Canada. Meanwhile, the IoT Institute shows how drone hacking is a real security issue, which is also demonstrated in this article from Forbes. Also, privacy issues in the UK highlights the need for better

Insights from the field of Commercial Drones​

We asked a few experts, about their vision of the commercial drone industry in a connected world and the key elements for a successful commercial roll-out, which includes drone cyber security, safety and privacy requirements.​​​

  • What will be the role of commercial drones in the future?

  • What is the future for the commercial drone industry?

  • What will be the role of commercial drones in the future?

  • Commercial Drones

    See how we facilitate pilot identity verification and drone registration, securely and seamlessly. This is the first step for safe and secure flights.

    Watch video

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​​Seven key factors to enable the drone ecosystem

Gemalto's solutions portfolio creates trust in the commercial drone industry for everyone involved, including drone manufacturers, operators, and public authorities. 

Download the infographic

7 Key factors ​

Drone regulations

All the examples above show the need for a strong regulatory framework to secure the use of commercial drones. Drone regulations are likely to come into force in Europe in 2018, while some are  already in effect in the US with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In many countries, some categories of commercial drones will be connected via GSM networks to unmanned traffic management (UTM) platforms, or ground stations. These will be sending and receiving a range of sensitive data including telemetry, flight plan updates, or command and control data.

Those UTM platforms will allow regulations to be implemented to enable safe, secure and efficient low-altitude operations. They cover the full flight lifecycle from before operations, during flight, and after completion for full traceability.

​Drone manufacturers and drone operators need to protect their assets and services, whereas public authorities need to ensure citizen safety and law enforcement. This ecosystem needs trust at every stage, from drone manufacturing and deployment through to flights and post operations.

Gemalto's solutions portfolio creates trust in the commercial industry for everyone involved, including drone manufacturers, operators, and public authorities.

Gemalto solutions allow you to:



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