Can Drones See Inside Your House?

Whether it’s a recreational or a police drone, you would be concerned about it flying above your roof. A lack of notice from the pilot that a drone would be flying above your roof could cause a lot of fear and anger. It’s understandable. But can drones see inside your house?

Yes, drones can see inside your house, but it boils down to their types. High-end drones with high-quality cameras and built-in sensors may see inside the house, for instance, through windows. A standard drone with a good camera can also see through windows but it would have to get really close.

Military and police drones used in tasks such as Search and Rescue Missions (SAR) or spying on criminals may see the inside of houses through other technologies like thermal, infrared, radar, etc. However, small, regular camera drones don’t have such features, making it impossible to see inside your house. 

Please keep reading to learn more about drones seeing inside yours house and what you may need to do.

Can Drones See Inside Your House?

Standard drones with cheap cameras cannot see inside your house, but one with an infrared or a thermal camera may see inside your house. In the actual sense, a drone pilot only sees your heat or objects’ signatures but not the real person or objects inside the house.

However, these types of drones that can see through walls, windows, and roofs are only used by militaries and police officers.

A standard drone may only see inside your house if the windows (or blinds) and curtains are open. The drone must, however, come close to be able to take a photo or shoot a video of the activities taking place inside the house.

When a drone gets so close to the window, it may be unable to shoot explicit videos or take great photos because of the propeller reflections on the windows.

Besides, a spying drone pilot wouldn’t want to fly the drone so close to your windows because of the fear of attracting your attention with the propellers’ sound.

How Do I Know if a Drone Is Watching Me?

You can know if a drone is watching you by its sound and light. Other better and more advanced methods include anti-drone radar, acoustic detectors, and radio surveillance.

Let’s take a look.

Acoustic Detectors

Whether the person flying the drone above your house is using the quietest ones or not, acoustic sensors successfully detect it.

However, acoustic detectors are only effective in detecting drone sounds if there’s no other noise when the drone flies around your house. So, only use these sensors if your area is entirely noise-free.

Radio Frequency (RF) Surveillance

If there’s any data transfer from the drone to the pilot, you can effectively use Radio Frequency detectors to trace the spying drone’s frequencies.

This is because RF detectors are dependent upon frequencies to trace a drone. Companies such as Rohde & Schwarz and Aaronia sell high-end RF drone detection systems.

Anti-drone Radar

To effectively detect all types of drones, including the police ones, use anti-drone radar systems. They detect drones from as far as five miles away and can successfully differentiate drones, birds, and other objects flying around your house.

They’re great for spying drones at night from all directions.

If the drone spying on your house does so from one direction, or you’re more worried about one side of your house being spied on, change the settings so that the anti-drone radar only monitors that direction.

Even so, anti-drone radars may be expensive but worth it.

Drone Sounds and Light

Some drones can be loud, especially if they’re installed with heavy cameras and large propellers. Such drones are easy to detect when they get close to your house.

However, some drones, for instance, the ones military and police officers use, could be hard to detect because they’re quiet. Your house must be free of noise from the television and other devices to hear such quiet drones.

It’s possible to detect drones by their lights at night. If you’re outside the house or near the windows, you can easily see the drone navigation lights which are often red and green, but they may sometimes be orange or white depending on the lights installed on the drone.

What to Do About Drone Harassment?

If a drone is harassing you by flying around your house and violating your privacy rights, there are things you can do against it.

They include:

Documenting the Drone’s Activities

Before you contact the operator, the first thing I need to do is to document the drone’s activities. This could be evidence once the police come and the drone owner denies flying the drone around my house.

Remember, when filing a complaint, you must provide the time and date when the drone was flying around your house, the pictures or a video of the drone flying, and the drone model. Better still, since the FAA rules say that drones should be registered, so check the drone’s registration number.

However, this is only possible if the drone is flying so close to you, but the number will help to know who the registered owner is.

Talk to the Drone Pilot

The FAA law states that all pilots must fly the drone within line of sight. Hence, if the drone is flying above your house, the pilot is within that area.

Calmly ask them why they’re flying the drone above the house. Some of the reasons that registered drone operators may legally fly a drone around your house are:

  • Taking real-estate photos or doing inspections
  • Doing powerlines inspections
  • Taking solar installation measurements
  • Doing roofing assessment

While these are justifiable reasons, drone pilots should notify you of such intended actions before undertaking them. Such drones don’t fly for a long time above your house.

Therefore, you should be alarmed if the drone hovers above your house for several minutes. Document the details and report it to the police.

The same applies if you can’t see the pilot or if he gets rude upon interrogation and fails to justify his actions.

Check the Laws

Different drone-use laws govern different countries. Always check to know what limits are there. Report any possible violations to the police and share the evidence you may have.

Police drones are also subject to strict regulations. Hence, you should also check for any violations of your privacy rights. If there are any, notify the local authorities.  

Calling the Police

The police enforce the drone laws set by the State and the relevant civil aviation agency. So, if a drone harasses you, call the local authorities immediately. 

Never take the law into your hands by shooting the drone or the pilot. Such actions could send you to jail.

Allow the authorities to do their work.

Can Military or Police Drones See Inside Your House?

As mentioned above, military or police drones can see inside your house. Law enforcers may use specialized drones to know where criminals are hiding or how armed they are.

Some drone models commonly used by police officers include Autel, JOUAV, Yuneec, and DJI. Sometimes they may use standard drones, while other times they may use drones with advanced zooming capabilities, thermal, and AI-powered features to make their work easier.

A good example is the DJI M300 RTK or the M30T, both of which can zoom at up to 200 times, and can see at night, but they still can’t see through a wall.

These drones can detect your presence, whether during the day or night. They may not see the activities happening inside, but they’ll detect your presence and that of other people and objects inside the house by detecting the heat signatures.

Unless you’re engaging in criminal activity, or someone else is and they live close to you, you should never see a military or police drone hovering above your house for long. But if they are, talk to them first to establish what they are doing and determine if you need to take further action. 

Parting Shot

Drones don’t see inside houses unless they’re the type used by the military and police officers to detect signatures of the house occupants.

The standard drones with cameras cannot see inside your house unless they get close to the open windows, blinds, or curtains.

These drones could also see inside your house if there are holes or other openings on the walls or roof. If you want to know how drones can see through your walls then make such to read my other in-depth guide here.

To be safe, though, use effective methods to detect drones. For example, you could use anti-drone radars, acoustic detectors, or Radio Frequency (RF) Surveillance.

If these are too expensive, avoid loud music in your house so you can hear the drone’s sound when it gets near your house. Occasionally, check through the curtains for drone lights.

If you notice a drone suspiciously flying above your house, quickly document everything and check the laws governing flying drones around your house and contact the authorities.

Author
Peter Karanja

Peter is a licensed drone pilot and drone fanatic. He owns a DJI Air 2S that he uses to shoot videos for fun, enjoyment and for clients.

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