Civilian and Commercial Drones

  • A drone carrying a package of hacksaw blades, a cellphone, super glue, cigarettes, marijuana, meth, and heroin crashed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma, October 27, 2015, photo by Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections/Handout via Reuters

    Report

    Countering the Drone Threat to U.S. Correctional Security

    Drones are used to send contraband such as drugs and cell phones into correctional institutions. In some cases, they have been used to deliver weapons and tools to facilitate escape. Securing airspace and interdicting drone incursions are relatively new and complex challenges that must be addressed.

    Mar 13, 2024

  • Report

    Report

    Emerging Technology and Risk Analysis: Unmanned Aerial Systems Intelligent Swarm Technology

    Researchers provide an assessment of the risk to the U.S. homeland from intelligent swarm technology using unmanned aerial systems or drones. They consider technology availability, threat, vulnerability, and consequences over the next decade.

    Feb 15, 2024

  • The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney defeats Houthi missiles and UAVs in the Red Sea, October 19, 2023, photo by PO2 Aaron La/U.S. Navy via Reuters

    Commentary

    Getting 'Left-of-Launch' in the Counter-Drone Fight

    The democratization of drone technology means that adversaries are now able to conduct attacks with near impunity. The Houthis' recent drone attacks in the Red Sea show that America's current approach to countering them is not working. A holistic, offensive strategy is needed.

    Jan 17, 2024

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, Neurodiversity, Russia's 'Forever War': RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on public reports of unidentified aerial phenomena, neurodiversity and national security, Ukraine's path to victory, and more.

    Jul 28, 2023

  • A drone or other object in the sky during a colorful sunset, photo by Наталья Босяк/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Where Are Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Sightings in the United States?

    The February 2023 Chinese surveillance balloon incident raised questions about the degree to which the U.S. government knows who is flying what over its skies. Public reporting of unidentified aerial phenomena may help officials identify potential threats.

    Jul 25, 2023

  • U.S. Navy sailors recover a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, February 5, 2023, U.S. Navy photo via EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    UFOs Are Not the Only Potential Threat in American Skies

    How can the United States best monitor its millions of square miles of domestic airspace for unidentified anomalous phenomena—what were once called UFOs—or anything else? Public reporting could help officials identify potential threats—but it'd help if the sightings being reported were actually unknown aerial phenomena and not U.S. military aircraft.

    Jul 25, 2023

  • Report

    Small Unmanned Aerial System Adversary Capabilities

    It is difficult to detect, identify, classify, and—consequently—counter nefarious small unmanned aerial systems (sUASs), particularly in urban areas. As the U.S. Department of Homeland Security prepares for this potential threat, it will need to know the types of threat scenarios in which these systems could be used, which design elements are likely to be exploited by a nefarious actor, and which technologies and capabilities may be available in the near future.

    Mar 12, 2020

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Coronavirus Outbreak, Drones, the U.S. Power Grid: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the intensifying coronavirus outbreak, cyber threats from drones, the vulnerabilities of the U.S. power grid, and more.

    Mar 6, 2020

  • Drone quadcopter over a background of binary code, photos by Kadmy/Adobe Stock and enot-poloskun/Getty Images; design by Rick Penn-Kraus/RAND Corporation

    Report

    How to Analyze the Cyber Threat from Drones

    Unmanned aerial systems—drones—have become more common, more readily available, and more sophisticated. And they have new capabilities, such as increased data collection and autonomous behavior. Their cybersecurity implications demand a coherent strategy.

    Mar 5, 2020

  • A guard leaves the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, South Carolina, April 16, 2018, photo by Randall Hill/Reuters

    Report

    What Correctional Institutions Need to Address Security Challenges

    Some threats to the security of correctional institutions, such as violence, escape attempts, and contraband, are as old as the institutions themselves. But as society and technology evolve, new threats are emerging, including hacking, synthetic drugs, and drones.

    Jul 31, 2019

  • A drone is used to survey high-voltage power lines of electric company Westnetz near Wilnsdorf, Germany, July 11, 2018

    Commentary

    Approaching a 'New Normal': What the Drone Attack in Venezuela Portends

    The attempt to assassinate Venezuelan President Maduro showed that drones are easy to use and difficult to defend against. Commercial off-the-shelf technology is easy to acquire. It is imperative that counterterrorism specialists begin planning a robust response to the threat.

    Aug 13, 2018

  • A drone flies over the ocean at dawn

    Commentary

    New Technologies Could Help Small Groups Wreak Large-Scale Havoc

    Lone wolves or small groups could use emerging technologies, such as drones or AI, for nefarious purposes. The threat is even greater when these technologies are used along with disinformation spread over social media.

    Jun 18, 2018

  • North Korean defectors living in South Korea hold balloons containing leaflets and CDs denouncing Kim Jong-un near the demilitarized zone north of Seoul, February 16, 2013

    Report

    Options for Flying Contraband into North Korea

    Activist groups in South Korea are seeking improvements in the balloons they use to carry political, religious, and humanitarian materials across the border into North Korea. Balloon delivery techniques have evolved and some have started using hexacopter drones. How effective are these methods?

    Apr 2, 2018

  • Man with drone in a warehouse.

    Research Brief

    What's the Buzz? Delivery Drones Are Here

    Delivery drones are fast becoming a reality. As many as three million commercial drones could be flying in U.S. airspace by 2020. The prospect of a package arriving at your door in a matter of minutes is exciting, but what do we know about the hidden costs, the safety concerns, and the trade-offs?

    Mar 5, 2018

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: January-February 2018

    This issue highlights RAND research on life inside the Islamic State and on the economic returns of early childhood investments, plus lessons for the U.S. from Britain's approach to free child care.

    Jan 3, 2018

  • Unmanned aircraft system (uav) quadcopter drone in the air over commercial buildings

    Report

    International Commercial Drone Regulation and Drone Delivery Services

    Commercial drone regulations vary from country to country; regulatory bodies struggle to adapt current laws to new technology. The author draws on a literature review to summarize regulations and highlight the obstacles to drone use worldwide.

    Dec 5, 2017

  • A drone takes off from an operations center in Muhanda, Rwanda, on its way to deliver blood supplies to remote hospitals, October 12, 2016

    Commentary

    Drones Could Deliver Change to Africa

    Drones could transform Africa's urban and rural infrastructure and enhance its agricultural productivity. But deployment of drones on the continent faces technological, economic, social, and legal, and regulatory challenges.

    Nov 17, 2017

  • A quadrocopter being flown over a field

    Commentary

    Options for Regulating Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

    The FAA predicts that there will be between 2.75 and 4.47 million small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) flown in the United States by 2021. As the skies become more crowded, action is needed from the federal government and sUAS manufacturers and operators to ensure the public's safety.

    Nov 6, 2017

  • Report

    Report

    The Energy Implications of Drones for Package Delivery: A Geographic Information System Comparison

    In this report, we use a geographic information system analysis to compare truck versus delivery drone energy use.

    Sep 28, 2017

  • Report

    Report

    Design Perspectives on Delivery Drones

    This report explores the vehicle design aspects of delivery drones, including flight efficiency, energy consumption, noise, and safety, which are central to the viability of delivery drones.

    Sep 28, 2017