Transformer-Based Named Entity Recognition on Drone Flight Logs to Support Forensic Investigation

Swardiantara Silalahi, Tohari Ahmad*, Hudan Studiawan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The increase in drone usage by the public brings the number of drone incident and attack up. Sophisticated preventive mechanisms, as well as post-incident procedures and frameworks, are needed. Forensic investigation is performed upon a drone incident, aiming to uncover the incident scenario, mitigate the risk and report the examination results. Generally, standard drone forensic procedure consists of three stages, i.e., evidence acquisition, evidence analysis, and reporting. Among the existing research, many attempts have been made in framework proposal and evaluation, study case, and tools proposal and evaluation. However, less research focuses on utilizing specific data artifacts from the drone forensic image, such as telemetry, dataflash, and flight log data. Therefore, this research aims to propose the use of log message data to discover and extract some incident-related information using a deep learning-based NLP technique, i.e., named entity recognition using the Transformer. Cosine similarity is proposed as a substitute for dot-product in the self-Attention mechanism of the Transformer encoder layer. Additionally, we propose NER architecture built from a mix of several existing methods and report the performance evaluation. We extract the DJI drone forensic image from a publicly available dataset using Autopsy and DJI Phantom Help and collect the decrypted log messages. Six entity types are defined after carefully reading the log message. These entity types are used in the manual annotation process using the IOB2 scheme as the label. The constructed dataset is used to evaluate the proposed model along with several baseline models. The proposed method outperforms the previous baseline model with a 91.348% F1 score. Finally, we conclude the experiment and mention several future directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3257-3274
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Digital forensics
  • conditional random fields
  • drone flight log
  • drone forensics
  • infrastructure
  • log mining
  • named entity recognition
  • transformer encoder


Dive into the research topics of 'Transformer-Based Named Entity Recognition on Drone Flight Logs to Support Forensic Investigation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this