Tuesday January 29, 2019

Echodyne Wants to Test a Drone Tracking System at the Superbowl

Citing an FCC application filed on Sunday, The Guardian reports that Echodyne, a company based out of Seattle, wants to operate experimental radar "'in the immediate vicinity' of Mercedes-Benz Stadium to 'alert security personnel, including federal officers, of any unidentified drone activity during Super Bowl LIII.'" Local authorities say they have a "zero tolerance policy" for drones near the event, which isn't suprising, given the recent incidents and shutdowns related to rogue drones. While the decision to use the radar at the superbowl is still technically up in the air, Echodyne's CEO said "Our system is definitely something you're going to see on stadiums, no question. If you're trying to secure a facility the size of a stadium or a prison or oil refinery or an embassy, then something this size, with this range is absolutely ideal." They posted a short clip of their tracking tech last year, which you can see below:

Echodyne says its radars can detect, track and identify flying objects, discriminating between possibly dangerous drones and harmless birds or balloons. That information is fed to devices that attempt to jam the drone's control or navigation signals, or to attack drones using nets. The US military has even developed counter-drone lasers to shoot offending aircraft from the sky... Echodyne's radars use so-called metamaterials - composite materials with complex, repeating structures that can manipulate electromagnetic waves and steer radio beams very precisely. At around $150,000, Echodyne's system is about 20 times cheaper than the Israeli military systems that the British army was reported to have used to end the Gatwick incursions last month. The company is hoping to sell the devices to prisons, public venues and even the makers of self-driving cars.