Cyber Innovation Series 2022/23: D-RON

Posted on: 08/02/2023

The next CyberASAP finalist to be featured in our Cyber Innovation Series is D-RON, a rogue drone behaviour detection system using digital twins.

The team behind D-RON will be showcasing their innovation at the CyberASAP Demo Day on 22 February where they, along with 14 other academic teams, will be presenting their pitch and demonstrating their Proof of Concept.

Register here.


About D-RON

It’s estimated that by 2030, the drone sector will have created 628,000 jobs in the UK, achieving an impact of 1.89% on annual GDP. But with this much growth on the horizon, experts in the cyber technology space have identified market needs and potential fears.

Through extensive research and market validation, combined with existing experience and support from partners in the sector, the team behind D-RON identified a number of needs in rogue drone behaviour detection. With such large amounts invested in drones and high numbers of these devices falling from the sky every year, the potential losses are huge for professionals and hobbyists alike.

Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast recognised this risk of collateral damage, and identified the need to investigate any potential attacks as well as detect and prevent them too. They discovered that attacks on drones were relatively easy to carry out, so set out to find a way to mitigate this risk, starting with the identification of attacks.

D-RON leverages AI and digital twin technology to deliver Software as a Service for those working with or investing in drone technology. This resilient, cost-effective platform will offer swarm movement detection as well as pattern tracing and individual movement tracking of drones. It will also provide better observation and reporting, faster response times, and fewer false positives.

Existing approaches rely on expensive technology and heavy equipment which are both complex to deploy and cannot distinguish the type of threat. In contrast, D-RON offers real-time anomaly detection as well as group authentication, self-checking logic and peer-to-peer observations. This solution could be useful in investigating whether drone swarms have fallen victim to cyber attack.


Meet the D-RON Team

The team behind D-RON pride themselves on the fact that their innovation isn’t just motivated by a few isolated incidents. They have a long history and extensive experience of seeing this market shift and understand the unique needs.

The team place a lot of emphasis on the research required for such an innovation, rather than jumping to a solution for the sake of commercialisation. They want D-RON to be a market-leading solution with the opportunity for further R&D and scalability.

The team are:

  • Dr Vishal Sharma – Lead (PI), Leading expert in drone and security and Lecturer at QUB
  • Prof. Trung Q. Duong – Co-I, World-leading expert in drone, digital twin, and physical layer security; Chair Professor of Telecommunication at QUB
  • Dr Antonino Masaracchia – Researcher with experience in drone enabled networks and Research Fellow at QUB

Working with the support of Norbert Sagnard (business development) as well as engineers from Queen’s University Belfast, the team hopes to build a business that can offer a range of cyber security products, beyond D-RON and drone technology.

They also hope to be able to support the government in building legislation around drones, providing valuable support, data and evidence to produce policy papers.


Meet them at our Demo Day

Join us on Wednesday 22 February 2023 and be among the first to preview the team’s innovation, alongside a whole host of exciting cyber products and services from leading UK academic teams. Hear their pitches and learn more about each project in this unique showcase of ready-to-commercialise cyber innovations. Register here.


About CyberASAP

CyberASAP (Cyber Security Academic Startup Accelerator Programme) is the only pre-seed accelerator programme in the cyber ecosystem which provides expertise, knowledge and support to convert academic research into commercial products and services.

CyberASAP is funded by the UK Government Department for Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT) and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN.

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