Echodyne is expected to announce a $29 million investment today. The investment is reportedly led by NEA as well as Bill Gates and Vulcan Capital.
Echodyne is focused on a compact radar system with phased-array like performance. Their Metamaterial Electronically Scanning Array, or MESA, is said to predict oncoming traffic beyond visual line of sight in all weather conditions. Their technology is designed for use on UAS, to detect UAS defensively, and they are currently working on a system for autonomous vehicles. This video demonstrates a portion of MESA’s capability.
Reports state the funding will go to research and development as well as ramping up production. The company is also expected to announce partnerships in the near future. It will be an exciting company to watch. Their technology could make drone delivery and autonomous vehicle a reality.
Earlier this year, SkyX released the following video entering the surveillance market for oil and gas pipelines. The video reveals a vertical takeoff and landing UAV combining helicopter and fixed wing technology. The company claims SkyX autonomously charges itself, detecting battery life and distance to a charge station.
SkyX is tackling the pipeline inspection industry. The inspection industry has relied on manual labor to inspect the pipeline either via a ground crew or by helicopter. This 2013 article on the same topic reported that it cost $3,000 an hour to rent a helicopter to inspect pipeline. Instead, SkyX is offering a subscription service for oil and gas pipeline companies to use their services. SkyX claims their UAVs can be equipped with a multitude of equipment to detect leaks, oil flares, security breaches, and more
Tech Crunch just reported that yet another anti-drone company has raised a large sum of money, to the tune of $5.5 million. According to the article, Fortem Technologies, Inc.‘s new round of seed funding was led by Signia Venture Partners and Data Collective (DCVC). Apparently, Fortum Technologies “proprietary radar technology” sets it apart from competitors. A quick search of the USPTO uncovered a few patent applications with Timothy Bean, Fortem’s CEO, as the inventor. However, these were all assigned to a previous competitor. Given the “proprietary” status and the competitiveness of this arena, it is a safe bet that Fortem will maintain their technology as a trade secret.
This 2015 Popular Mechanics article by Carl Franzen really predicted the market well. As of January, James Carlini reported 22 companies he located in the anti-drone market and Fortem was not one of them, among a few others I could name.
A review of DroneShield’s website easily reveals the cause. Their website lists airports, prisons, government, infrastructure, and commercial venues as places to protect. This doesn’t include military applications, privacy concerns, national parks, protected airspace, environmental protection, or the voluminous other incidents where anti-drone technology could be safe.
Would you purchase anti-drone technology if it became available to the general public? Or, if you are an avid drone user, how do you convince people that commercially available anti-drone solutions are not necessary?