Can Drones See Through Walls?

Seeing a drone flying above your compound can be scary, especially if fitted with a camera. Such a level of privacy infringement could make you tempted to call the local authorities. But should you panic, and can drones see through walls?

Drones used in mapping, photography, and basic inspections aren’t powerful enough to see through walls. In contrast, highly advanced drones, for example, those used by the anti-terrorist, military, and Search and Rescue teams, can see through walls, though not all types of walls.

However, while some drones can’t necessarily see through walls, they may be used to hack into devices like laptops or cameras, allowing the user to see what they see. 

This article focuses on whether drones can see through walls, what type of drones have such potential, their application, and measures to take on spying drones.

Let’s get started.

Can Drones See Through Walls?


Some drones can see through walls. Take, for example, the type of drones used by the Search and Rescue team, research and development agents, surveillance team, and military and anti-terrorist officers can see through walls.

However, the drone’s capability isn’t the only factor to consider; the type of your wall also comes into play when determining if the drone can see through walls.

In contrast, drones fitted with standard cameras are only used to shoot videos and take photographs, so they cannot see through walls.

What Kind of Camera Can See Through Walls?

The sense-through-the-wall drone cameras can see through walls. This is a recent technology by an Israeli company, Camero, which specializes in imaging. This camera is powerful in that even if the person inside the building is beyond 164 feet from the camera; he would still be detected. 

In addition, it also effectively detects how far someone is from the wall. Not only that, the camera detects people inside buildings by their breathing.

Law enforcers have used it in a Search and Rescue Mission successfully.

Therefore, military officers and emergency responders may use this camera when they want to know:

  • What activities are going on in a building
  • How many occupants are there
  • How far they’re from the wall

Nevertheless, this camera has to be installed on the wall to gather the above data. Since drones are noisy, having a drone so close to a wall also means that the house occupants will easily detect it and paralyze the ongoing mission (as we shall see later).

What Technology Is Used to See Through Walls?

Drones with capabilities like LiDAr, Wi-Fi, acoustic, thermal technologies, ultrasonic, radar, or electromagnetic technologies can also be used to map out a building and create a 3D model of the building or even see through walls made of light materials like plastic and are often used by law enforcement mainly as handheld or ground-based tools. Still, they could be customized as payloads that a drone could carry.

Though these technologies are powerful enough to give a rough idea of what objects are inside the house, the type or thickness of the wall might affect the ability to see through walls. For instance, if the walls are made of concrete, it will be challenging to see through them.

Radio Frequency has been used to detect people’s presence behind walls by scanning the walls. This technology mainly helps rescue those trapped under collapsed buildings or rubble after an earthquake.

A comprehensive 3D map of people or objects behind walls can be created when the reflections of the RF waves are measured.

Animals and people can easily be detected using thermal imaging. The presence of people or animals behind walls alters thermal radiation. Since the presence of an animal or a person behind the wall alters temperatures, the sensors send signals alerting the drone user of their presence.

However, thick materials like concrete block infrared rays, which are used for thermal imaging. So, if your walls are made of concrete, thermal imaging can’t be used to see through them.

What Are the Applications of See-Through-Wall Drone Technology?

As I have mentioned, see-through-wall drone technology has many applications, including Search and Rescue Missions, military and anti-terrorist activities, and industrial inspections.

Below, we shall look at these uses in detail.

Industrial Inspection

Drones that can see through walls can be used for inspecting power lines, pipelines, or any other industrial inspection application.

This is because they can see into the walls, helping the technicians detect defects in the walls or even detect any issues beyond the wall. This helps save time and reduces the risk of workers having to go in and inspect the facilities themselves.

Military Department

Military and anti-terrorists sometimes face high-risk situations. See-through-wall drones can help monitor suspects’ movement without endangering their lives.

These drones are also used in countering terrorism and hostage circumstances.


See-through-wall drones can help law enforcement survey from a distance without being detected. They can use these drones to see through walls, houses, roofs, curtains, and windows, among other things.

This is an effective security measure because some criminals could be dangerously armed and hence injure or kill unsuspecting law enforcers.

Search and Rescue Missions

Search and rescue teams use drones that see through walls to save victims trapped in collapsed buildings, for example, after an earthquake. These drones are mainly used when the team is unsure of the safety of the building.

So, to ensure that no one else gets trapped or injured, the team uses drones to search for trapped people until they are sure that the area or building is safe for entry.


Can Drone Camera See Through Curtains?

Drones may see through curtains if the windows are open. However, if the windows are closed and your curtains are heavy, it may be hard to see through unless the drone has a thermal camera.

Thermal cameras may detect some energy and notify the drone pilot of your presence. Therefore, there may still be a small percentage of privacy infringement based on the type of drone being used. 

Can a Drone Camera See Through Walls at Night?

Based on the type of drone camera, some may see through walls at night with excellent lighting. Under poor lighting conditions, it is difficult for a drone to see through walls at night.

However, some drone models featuring thermal cameras may still see through walls at night amidst a lack of ambient light. 

However, most drones are incapable of seeing beyond 165 feet. So, it’s difficult for drones to infringe on your privacy at night.

What Is the Best Defense Against Spying Drones?

There are defense techniques you can use against a spying drone; they include;

  • Drone-detection software
  • Drone-jamming technology
  • Physical barriers
  • Anti-drone technology

Let’s discuss these methods briefly.

  • Drone-Detection Software: This software can easily detect the presence of a drone in your compound by sensing the sound of drone propellers or identifying the drone’s shape. Others analyze video and audio data by using machine learning algorithms.
  • Drone-Jamming Technology: Using drone jammers, you can make a drone lose communication with its controller. Consequently, the drone loses control and lands or crashes. Also, since there’s no more connection between the pilot and the drone, any video and photo transfer in progress gets cut off.
  • Physical Barriers: Closing blinds and windows can prevent a drone from spying on you. If your curtains aren’t too heavy, you could place heavy objects in front of your window to make it more difficult for the drone to see through.
  • Anti-Drone Technology: You can install anti-drone fences at home. These fences are fitted with sensors that detect drones. These fences transmit signals that overwhelm the drone’s radio transmissions. Consequently, the video and control links between the pilot and the drone break, causing the drone to crash or allowing you to take care of the drone.

NOTE: Ensure you research the legality of owning such technologies in your region and understand drone usage rules before getting them.

Closing Line

Drones can see through walls. Such, however, are not the standard drones for taking photos and shooting videos.

The drones used by the anti-terrorists, military officers, Search and Rescue Mission teams, surveillance, and industrial officers are, however, fitted with powerful cameras and sensors and can see through some types of walls.

Also, these drones may detect the presence of objects, animals, or people behind walls through thermal imaging and Radio Frequency scanning, among other technologies.

Thankfully, there are measures you can take to paralyze the intent of anyone spying on you. For example, you can install anti-drone fences, close windows and blinds, install drone detection software, or use drone jammers.

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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