For the first time ever, Paris Air Show organisers allowed a drone to film the worlds biggest aerospace gathering, as the growing use of them has raised security questions.
The evolving drone technology is making aerial views available to almost anybody, where helicopters would have been the only solution just a few years ago.
At the stand for the French company Parrot, visitors were gathered in front of a stage framed with nets to watch flying drones performing acrobatics to loud electronic music.
Parrot, which prides itself on being the first to launch consumer drones worldwide, says the reason for the attraction is simple.
The drone can do something that was impossible to do before, to do easily aerial images. And today you use more and more images, you do and the consumer they do a lot of videos on YouTube with the GoPro or with your phone. And the drone permits to make fantastic images and very easily, you can fly over the mountain, you can fly over the building and you can make very incredible images with a drone so this is the reason of the rise of the drones, said Parrot CEO Henri Seydoux.
But with the industry booming, consumer drones have generated new issues in terms of security. Back in 2012, Greenpeace demonstrated how easy it was to fly over and land in the middle of a French nuclear plant site using paragliders.
The National Office for Aerospatial Study and Research (Onera) is working with a team composed of both public and private partners, to test different methods of detection (acoustic, optic, radar) and neutralisation in various scenarios and with different types of craft.
The security threat posed by invading drones has prompted the team to offer technological solutions to fight such invasions.
The threats which have appeared today are explained by the fact that drones are now widely used by people, their use has been democratised and a lot of people are flying them. So there are threats and today were trying to respond to rising demand, research scientist Nicolas Riviere said.
One solution offered by the company is a laser technology which scans the environment of a site and gives a three dimensional image of it.
We use a laser source so that were not affected by environmental conditions, by sunlight, by weather conditions – it can rain and snow, it can be foggy – we can overcome those different weather conditions and see the objects which interest us through all of it, he said.
Other technologies include the capacity to jam the drones communications in order to make them either crash or return automatically to base.