Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
In this age of increasing technology and our personal lives becoming jeopardized and publicized, the risk of our private conversations being recorded through recent drone technology is a very real and popularly discussed one.
Even being avid drone enthusiasts, we must know whether this technology is risking our own and others’ security and comfort, so we can fly drones and have a great time carefree.
Well, can drones hear our conversations? This is the central question, along with a few minor ones that I will answer today.
Drones equipped with the proper audio recording technology can record conversations and audio pieces, but consumer drones typically don’t have this capability. On the other hand, high-tech drones can do this and a lot more to risk people’s privacy.
But that’s not it. There’s much more you need to know about drones and their role in public privacy. In this article, I’m going to talk about drones, audio technology, and their combination. So, without wasting any further time, here is a great video before I get started.
Can Drones Hear Our Conversations?
Yes, drones can hear our conversations and other forms of audio as well. But that’s not the case with all kinds of drones.
Only higher-quality drones that come with better audio technology, directional microphones, and additional equipment can record audio that is clear and understandable.
Consumer drones, on the other hand, aren’t capable of recording audio. The simple reason for that is drone companies not taking that extra step because of no actual need for microphones in drones.
The drones that do have audio recording technology are costly and very rarely seen in public. In addition, most high-quality drones that can record sound can do so because of excessive hardware.
For example, some quadcopter drones come with GoPro recorders fitted with high-quality microphones capable of recording clear audio. However, the drones themselves seldom have audio recording technology.
Military and custom-designed drones with audio technology are fitted with noise-discarding high-focused directional microphone devices that pick sound using AI technology for surveillance and observatory purposes.
As I said before, these kinds of drones aren’t prevalent. Many state laws regarding drone technology state strict rules for drones avoiding invading the public’s privacy and reprimanding ill-doers with heavy fines and even jail time.
So, you don’t need to worry as much about this issue. But that doesn’t mean this issue is non-existent. Having one eye open to such problems is always a good measure of security. So, keep an eye out for unidentifiable drones.
Why Can’t Most Consumer Drones Record Audio?
In this time and age, consumer drones cannot record audio. Drone companies don’t take this risk or spend the extra cost on this unnecessary requirement.
Why though? What’s the reason drone companies choose not to include microphones in their quadcopter drones? Well, there are several reasons for that. One of those reasons is the security of the public.
Most places in the US and around the world have strict laws against public surveillance, and recording audio of the people around you does qualify as surveying people.
There are other significant reasons why consumer drones do not and most probably will not be able to record clear audio for the next 5 to 10 years, at the very least. So let’s take a look at them.
Quadcopter Drone Noise:
This is simply because the motor and the propellors of quadcopter drones are running at an incredibly high speed which generates a lot of sounds that you can hear from quite far away.
So, if a consumer drone company used a microphone with the drone, it would only pick up the sound of the motor and the propellors and nothing else, so there won’t be any clear audio anyway.
Excessive Mic Costs:
Microphone technology, especially higher-quality directional and precise audio capturing technology, isn’t cheap. But, unfortunately, it is expensive, and to get a good mic, you will have to pay more.
Drones are already not very cheap. They’re expensive on their own, and if such a technology were to be added to drones, the cost of production would get too much for drone companies to keep the prices the same.
It will result in losses and ultimately the rise in drone prices, which will lower the market demand of consumer drones, and the market will end up being in decline due to this addition which isn’t what drone companies want.
Consumer Drone Requirements:
Consumer drone requirements are also a big reason for microphones not being included in them. Drones are made for entertainment purposes and also videography and photography purposes.
Either of these purposes doesn’t require a microphone and audio capturing for them. Moreover, conversations are much more of personal data in comparison to video data.
So, without the reason and requirement of microphones, drone companies do not need to include them in drones. This is perhaps the biggest reason for consumer drones not having any audio capturing technology.
How Far Will Future High-Tech Drones Be Able To Record Audio?
Well, this is an interesting question. The future holds a lot of upgrades in drone technology for sure. You’ll be able to see tons of tremendous advancements in consumer drones in the next 5 to 10 years.
Drones will become more accessible to people as well. But most important of all, will future drones be able to record clear audio? We can surely expect such technology to arrive soon.
High-quality microphone technology will also become cheaper and readily available in quadcopter drones.
We can expect these mics to record clear, targeted audio, canceling the noise of the drones and the drones to be silent and have little to no flight sound.
If such an audio recording technology is to be used in drones of the future, they’ll be able to record from long distances even. It might sound like a lot, but the end has a lot in store for us, technologically.
How To Prevent Drones From Invading Your Privacy?
Just because there’s a low chance that any consumer drone would have the capability of recording audio and conversations, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be aware of your surroundings and take care of your privacy.
There are other ways drones can invade your privacy and risk your well-being. So, here are some ways you can prevent drones from invading your personal space and privacy:
Observe Suspicious Behavior:
People might call you paranoid for being too observant but keeping your eyes peeled isn’t that bad idea.
You need to be cautious and capable enough of observing everything that happens around in the neighborhood without seeming too over-observant.
This means that you need to see if any neighboring drone is exhibiting suspicious behavior. For example, if there’s any additional component attached to the consumer drone or it seems to behave weirdly and tries to invade privacy, you need to keep a strict eye on it.
This will be helpful in case any privacy issue takes place shortly. It is best to be prepared for such things.
Cheap Radar Detectors:
Radar detectors sound like something straight out of a sci-fi movie or a military base. Still, they’re very readily available if you’re looking to get one for your privacy and protection purposes.
If you have a problem with drones invading your privacy, radar detectors can also be a good option.
These radar detectors will help you detect any drone movement in your vicinity, and you’ll know if anyone is trying to invade your personal space.
This will also serve as evidence if you need it to tackle any case of harassment or personal space invasion by someone else’s drone.
Keep Drones Away From Your Private Property:
Observation isn’t all you’re going to have to do if you want to secure your privacy from invading drones and recordings. You’re going to have to take action as well.
In this case, action can simply be making sure no drone makes its way over your yard or house, anywhere near the windows, or at a lower altitude where it might cause any hurt.
Worst-case scenario, if the drone seems to be recording any private activity, you have the right to defend your property and your privacy and render the drone dysfunctional, but only if your worst fears seem to be true.
Report to Local Authorities:
Ideally, nothing out of the ordinary will be happening, even if there’s a drone in your neighborhood.
Mostly, drone flyers enjoy flying drones in their vicinity to keep an eye on them and not invade someone else’s personal space.
But if at any point, it seems as if someone is trying to spy on you or survey your house and family members conducting their own personal activities, the best thing to do would be to inform the FAA or your local authorities.
They will be able to act and protect not only your safety but the safety of the entire residence.
Learn about Drone Flight Rules:
Drone flying might be an entertaining sport and not a professional one, but it doesn’t mean there are no rules and regulations for flying drones.
The FAA is the regulatory organization that has placed a set of rules and regulations that you have to abide by to fly drones safely and legally.
So, if any person around your house is not following those rules, trying to invade your private space, or taking the law in their hands, knowing these rules will help you make the right decision to ensure your personal space is safe and your family and neighboring families can live calmly.
Talk to the Drone Owners:
Communication is key. If you’re under the idea that someone is trying to invade your personal space with their drone camera, you should take the non-threatening route first, especially if you’re neighbors with them.
Going to their house, saying hi, sitting with them, discussing how life is, how things are, and whether all of this is just a big misunderstanding would go a long way.
Perhaps the intentions were never what you expected, and it was just a mistake. Of course, other solutions can be adopted if this doesn’t work out, but this should be your first and preferred action.
Drone Jammers (Worst-Case Scenario):
The last and the most extreme measure that should only be used if you’re living in an area where many drone lovers live and you’re tired of hearing the buzzes, and the near-misses is the installation of drone jammers.
These devices are meant to disrupt the signals and connection of the remote controllers with the drones, rendering them useless.
Moreover, they’re expensive, which is why they’re the worst-case solution.
Once the drone flyers understand that your yard and your house’s vicinity can be dangerous for their expensive drones, they’ll make sure to stay as far away from you as it will be possible for them.
Today’s drones are very high quality and technologically advanced, but they aren’t capable of recording crystal clear sound or any sound at all. This is the whole truth.
But you should still be wary of the drones flying around if they seem suspicious and invading your personal space because although drones might not be capable of audio recordings, they can record video quite well, even in 4K.
I hope you learned a lot from this article and that you’re going to stay safe and secure while flying your favorite drones. May you have a great time with your drone flying experience!