Deutsche Telekom wants drones to protect vital infrastructure

7 Nov 2016

Drone above a power plant. Image: Pavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock

Deutsche Telekom, Germany’s telecoms giant, is reportedly working on turning drones into a connected security system that would protect vulnerable locations like airports, stadiums and other critical infrastructure.

While more familiar globally as one of the biggest telecoms operators in the world, it now seems Deutsche Telekom’s latest plans lie in connecting drones, not people.

Reuters reports that the company is planning to roll out an advanced drone defence system, which could protect a country’s critical infrastructure from hostile and disruptive drones.

Locations such as airports, sports stadiums and power stations would be some of the more popular targets for anyone looking to cause infrastructural – or even human – damage.

Last May, the organisers of the Euro 2016 football tournament in France revealed that they would be deploying drones around stadiums to counteract any hostile ones that would come within their 1km no-fly zone.

It is understood that a number of car manufacturers in Germany have approached Deutsche Telekom to develop a drone security system to prevent competitors and journalists taking photos of their prototype vehicles.

Discussions with Bayern Munich

In the world of football, the German champions Bayern Munich have also approached the telecoms company to provide a similar service to deflect any potentially harmful drones around its stadium, the Allianz Arena.

Any such deal with the team would tie in nicely with the two entities’ current arrangement, whereby Deutsche Telekom is a sponsor to the team. The latter also recently agreed a deal to provide football fans with their own branded mobile network.

Last June, the football club had been in discussions with a company called Rheinmetall that could create an electromagnetic barrier around the stadium to block drones from gaining access.

Deutsche Telekom has confirmed to German media that it does plan to offer a drone defence system.

To achieve this, it has invited a number of different companies from the US, Australia, Norway and its native Germany to demonstrate their technological capabilities.

Drone above a power plant. Image: Pavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic