A drone flew around the Ravens’ stadium during a game. Now, ‘drone detection’ is coming to Camden Yards for the Orioles’ season.

It was at a game late in the season, and something kept flying around M&T Bank Stadium. And it wasn’t launched by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The Maryland Stadium Authority said Tuesday that security officials spotted a drone hovering over the perimeter of the seating bowl during the NFL team’s Dec. 20 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Federal rules prohibit drones from flying in and around NFL or Major League Baseball stadiums during games.


The discovery — along with a growing number of such incidents in other cities — prompted the stadium authority to sign a deal with Aerial Armor, an Arizona company that says it specializes in “security solutions for drone intrusions.”

The detection technology will be in place at Camden Yards in time for the Baltimore Orioles’ home opener Thursday against the Boston Red Sox, authority officials said Tuesday during the monthly meeting of their board of directors.


It will also be used in the fall during the Ravens’ season.

“It’s been a growing problem,” Vern Conaway, vice president of safety and security for the stadium authority, said after the meeting. “Given what happened with the 2020 baseball season at other venues, and the recent occurrence at M&T on Dec. 20, we decided to take some additional measures.”

The stadium authority, the landlord of the Orioles and Ravens, recently signed up for a one-year subscription with Aerial Armor at a cost of $18,000. The company will install an antenna and provide a software license so the stadium authority can track any drones, according to Conaway. The system establishes a virtual perimeter and provides alerts when it is breached.

Security officials were unable to identify the person who flew the drone over M&T Stadium last winter. The drone was “flying around the stadium for probably about 10 minutes or so. It stayed above the light towers,” said Conaway. “The vast majority of people at the complex didn’t even know it was there.”

No fans were in the stands because of COVID-19 restrictions, so there was substantially less of a safety threat than there might have been.

Based on security cameras and available technology, Conaway said the drone operator was believed to have been operating the device from a side street near the stadium.

A handful of MLB games were interrupted last season by unauthorized drones. The Pittsburgh Pirates tweeted in August that the team was in a “drone delay” when one of the remote-controlled devices flew over the Minnesota Twins’ stadium during a game.

Drones can serve a variety of purposes, including law enforcement surveillance, to obtain professional or amateur videos, or to peek into remote sites or places not accessible from the ground.


In a December news release, the Federal Aviation Administration called the unmanned devices “the fastest-growing segment in the entire transportation sector — with currently over 1.7 million drone registrations.”

The FAA has been phasing in rules this year requiring drones to add technology called “Remote ID” allowing security officials to identify drones in flight and the location of their control stations.

Drone regulation violators can face civil fines or jail time. While the FAA is responsible for enforcing its drone rules, it may team with police or others. “State and local law enforcement agencies are often in the best position to deter, detect, immediately investigate, and, as appropriate, pursue enforcement actions to stop unauthorized or unsafe (drone) operations,” the agency says in a briefing paper on its website.

Conaway said the primary goal is to educate operators and make sure they follow the rules.

“For the most part, the operator doesn’t realize it’s a violation,” he said.