A British startup helped protect U.S. President Barack Obama from potential UAV threats during a recent visit to Germany this past month.
OpenWorks Engineering deployed several of its SkyWall100 counter-drone systems across Berlin, company officials say. The drone mitigator resembles a missile launcher and can deploy an intelligent projectile with on-board countermeasures up to 100 meters.
After the launcher’s targeting AI calculates a rogue drone’s trajectory, the launched projectile hunts down the errant drone, apprehending it with an on-board net/parachute apparatus.
“This operational deployment demonstrates how the unique SkyWall100 capability can provide protection from drone threats for heads of state while in mobile and urban environments,” a corporate spokesperson said.
“The SkyWall100 system allows operators to physically capture any suspicious drone and bring it to the ground safely, without raising alarm in the surrounding area or causing collateral damage.”
OpenWorks continues to lead the anti-drone global race since debuting SkyWall at a UK Home Office security conference in March.
In addition to landing the aerial security detail, the company won the Best UAS Interdiction Award at the Countering Unauthorized Unmanned Aircraft Systems Challenge in August with SkyWall stopping the most drones out of seven finalists. In addition, Latvian officials have signaled the possibility of buying a SkyWall system to mind its national airspace.
“Capturing a drone is the best way to ensure control of a situation is maintained,” a company spokesperson said. “Once captured it can be impounded, forensically investigated or simply handed back with some words of education where appropriate. Perhaps more importantly, the potential legal implications of damaging the pilot’s [UAV] are mitigated.”
Fears that errant drones could harm lives and property have fueled a growing anti-drone sector. A recent study predicts the emerging market will grow to a billion-dollar industry within six years with predicted compound annual growth rate of 23.89 percent across 2017-22.
Manufacturers are touting a variety of drone hunting solutions – from the “anti-drone rifle” by Batelle Innovations to the Orwellian-sounding “anti-drone death ray” Anti–AUV Defense System. The Dutch company, Guard From Above, announced a recent anti-drone partnership with the nation’s federal police force that would deploy eagles and other raptors to identify and take down drones.
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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