Airspace Systems’ drones are built to detect, track and ultimately deter or capture enemy drones. “We actually physically intercept the drone. We don’t rely on electronic jamming,” says Banga. Comparatively, other companies in the drone security market have mostly worked on drone detection.
Airspace Systems is focused on creating drone security systems for crowded spaces, like cities and the suburbs, where there is a higher risk of collateral damage, and therefore, a greater need for stealth and precision. “This whole field of classification, of visual classification, is obviously very mature and is rapidly evolving. We are very special in that we do that in high speed,” says Guy Bar-Nahum, Airspace Systems’ Chief Technology Officer. The company has designed their drones to use a Kevlar module to catch their targets gently, rather than shooting them down and detonating any explosives they might be harboring. An Airspace Systems drone can also deploy a parachute, if it needs a soft landing.
Drone security systems are more important than ever, as drones are employed in everything from package-delivery to war zones. Banga points to ISIS’s use of commercial drones modified to carry 40 mm rifle grenades and attack Iraqi forces in Mosul in January. “For a very little amount of money, they become a poor man’s cruise missile,” he says.
Airspace Systems has been working closely with the New York Mets and Citi Field, as sporting events have become a common target of rogue drones. While these drones often just carry cameras, the potential to target a large audience with something more dangerous has caused significant security concern. “You have to treat every drone that comes in as possibly something that’s going to be very dangerous for that crowd of 30, 40, [or] 50,000 people,” Banga says.