Drone Security Company Raises $20M to Down Drones—Using Drones
The drone tech company that uses net-launching UAVs to capture rogue drones has new funding to refine its autonomous drone-identifying software.
We’ve reported on a wide variety of counter-drone measures in the past, from the seven best anti-drone weapons on the market to officials contemplating how best to secure correctional facilities from unwelcome aerial visitors. But, Airspace Systems, a drone security company, has just garnered itself $20 million in Series A funding to establish another one. While many anti-drone tech companies rely on jamming rogue unmanned aerial vehicles through radio frequencies or use projectiles to blast them out of the sky, this company is using a more traditional, albeit sophisticated measure, catching the intruding drone with a net.
According to Tech Crunch, Airspace Systems is calling its new technologies “kinetic capture,” which are comprised of a system on the ground that identifies any incoming UAVs it deems as threats, deploying its own drones to chase after them, and shooting a tethered net at them to carry them away. In the video below, produced by Tech Crunch in 2016, you can see that Airspace Systems had already created the net-launching components of its drones. It has since focused on creating the autonomous drone-identifying technology now firmly a part of this new anti-drone system. Let’s take a look at the humble beginnings first, shall we?
As Tech Crunch reports, Airspace Systems is a company of 32 employees, with more than two-thirds of them actively working on autonomous drone technologies. “We don’t rely on just one technology anymore, we really include machine vision, onboard radar, lidar - all of these different sensing technologies - to enable us to fly in a variety of environments and do this capture mission,” said Airspace Systems COO Todd Komanetsky. In order to do this, of course, the company needs captital, and it recently acquired $20 million in Series A funding from Singtel Innov8, s28 Capital, Shasta Ventures, Granite Hill Capital Partners, and others. This puts Airspace Systems at a total of $25 million in funding.
“Demand for protecting stadiums, commercial buildings, power plants and, for that matter, any other public venues from potential drone threats is growing rapidly,” said Singtel Innov8 Managing Director Jeff Karras. He’s not wrong, of course, as we’ve seen drones infiltrating airspace above soccer stadiums, correctional facilities, and airports far too often in recent months.
“There are a number of important drone defense technologies flooding the market but there has not been one which integrates all the best capabilities under a single platform until the solutions developed by Airspace,” Karras added. While that may not be entirely true as companies like DroneShield seem to also be establishing its own all-encompassing anti-drone systems, it’s good to see more competition spring up, more investment injected into this field, and innovation continue.