An emerging anti-drone company has a brilliant idea: to catch a rogue drone, release a hunter drone.
California-based Airspace Systems recently conclude a successful test of a hybrid system that marries UAV tracking software and sensors with a hexcopter on steroids. The Interceptor drone engages the target in a kind of dogfight, ultimately capturing its prey with a Kevlar net and carrying it away to safety. Oh, and by the way it does it all in mid-freaking-air. You have to see it to believe it.
“Our hardware and software are purpose-built for this challenge—and get better with every mission—so that you can protect your airspace with the tap of a finger,” the company’s website proclaims.
Airspace’s technology uses deep learning to detect aerial anomalies that fit the profile of an unauthorized drone. Once confirmed as a “bad-guy” UAV, Airspace software “releases the hound” and it’s game over for the rogue. The AI system can also predict a drone’s flight path.
Airspace CEO Jaz Banga believes that aerial protection systems serve as a much-needed stopgap by separating bad-apple drones from the good guys. Stupid people doing stupid things with drones could give the whole UAS community a black eye in the mind of the public.
“The consumer drone industry is one disaster away from ceasing to exist,” Banga said in a recent TechCrunch interview.
And the angel-investing community seems to agree with Banga. Last week, venture-capital firms Granite Ventures, Shasta Venture and Sterling VC seeded Airspace’s drone-hunting mission with $5 million.
Drone mitigation is a natural consequence of the growing UAV industry:
- In September, the U.S. Navy tested a “virtual net” tasked with detecting and splashing hostile drones.
- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Tactical Technology Office in August publicized a request for information to help create “novel, flexible, mobile layered” anti-drone solutions to defend “fixed and mobile ground and naval forces from possible drone threats.”
- Start-up firm OpenWorks Engineering won the recent Best UAS Interdiction Award at the Countering Unauthorized Unmanned Aircraft Systems Challenge in August. The company’s flagship product, SkyWall, stopped the most drones out of seven finalists.
- At the Navy’s recent Sea-Air-Space exhibition, Battelle unveiled the DroneDefender anti-UAV rifle.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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