Meet Drone ID, the world’s first digital identity certificate for drones.
Drone ID is a publicly-trusted SSL/TLS certificate issued by AirMap and DigiCert that facilitates instant verification of an unmanned aircraft’s identity via a digital certificate, enabling authentication and encryption for drones.
But what exactly is a digital certificate, and why is it important?
SSL certificates are important tools used to secure the internet and other digital communications. The certificate establishes a pair of digital “keys” that are used to encrypt information shared between websites and website users. When you send information to a website with https, it is encrypted with a public key, designated by a lock next to web link in the address bar. Only the web page you’ve visited has the private key needed to decipher the message. These keys can be used to encrypt and “digitally sign” information on the web page, reducing the risk of threats to information security, like hacking or spoofing.
Drone ID brings this technology for internet security to drones, which are Internet-of-things devices.
Drone operators that register their drone online will receive a digital Drone ID certificate, including a unique, validated aircraft identity number that can be loaded onto the drone and shared with others in the drone ecosystem. That identity can be used to digitally sign information coming from the drone, enabling more efficient and secure communication from drone to drone, between drones and other aircraft, and with platforms providing airspace information and services, like AirMap.
Another way to think about Drone ID: if you show your driver’s license at airport security, they don’t need to call the DMV to verify. Drone ID works the same way, providing drones with an aircraft identity that has been authenticated by trusted authorities and doesn’t need to be verified with AirMap each time it is used.
Drone ID unlocks interesting use cases for the drone industry. It could be used to enable encrypted video being sent from a drone to a pair of FPV goggles. It could help to authenticate commands being relayed to each drone in an automated swarm, ensuring that ground communication is “talking” to the right device. Or it could “sign” information sent by a drone, such as data from an ADS-B transponder, to verify that it comes from the right drone and isn’t being spoofed.
Drone ID is a major step forward for drone security, laying the groundwork for a future in which millions of drones can share data and information efficiently and securely. We look forward to making Drone ID available to drones built with the Intel® Aero Platform for Developers, as well as other manufacturers and developers interested in the service.