Fortem raises $5.5M to hunt and take down unwanted drones

TechCrunch by Lora Kolodny

News Article | May 6, 2017

As drones increase in availability, more organizations and governments are looking for ways to protect assets from nefarious drones. Fortem has developed a system called DroneHunter that, well, hunts drones. Literally. DroneHunter involves detecting and then removing drones by shooting them down or capturing them with another drone. This is dogfighting with drones.

The system uses radar to monitor a designated area and identify potential bad actors. Once a target is identified, a large six rotor drone is deployed that can be equipped with several different takedown devices. This drone then intercepts the rogue drone and shoots a net at the target drone to either cause the drone to crash or tether it to the larger drone. Fortem says this system works with drones traveling up to 100 miles per hour.

As we explained last year, Fortem acquired its core radar technology in 2016 from IMSAR, and over the last year has adapted it so that the system can be exported around the world, leased or purchased outright within the typical security budget for a variety of venues, and can work with any security-grade drones.

The Utah-based startup raised $5.5 million last year to bring this product to market.

This system is now available for purchase at an unnamed cost from Fortem though it seems sales will be limited to defense and federal government customers.

The company can integrate its radar into drones of the type that are typically used for physical security, professional aerial photography or delivery by drone. It also can install its radar on the ground around a particular venue or city that wants to monitor the skies.

However, Fortem also makes its own DroneHunter UAV, which can track the movement of aircraft approaching, classify what kind of vehicles they are and, in the case of smaller drones, will literally net and tow them away or drop them with a parachute so they don’t land on anyone’s head.

The company is developing collaborative capabilities for its DroneHunters, so users will be able to run fleets of them to counter multiple intruders simultaneously. While it is working with government agencies, and is generating revenue, Bean said he could not disclose further details about the company’s clients.

Signia’s Ed Cluss said outside of military demand for this technology, Fortem’s commercial applications are very wide-ranging. He expects Fortem’s DroneHunter, software and radar will be used by businesses and municipalities to monitor infrastructure such as stadiums, data centers, water and power plants, schools or resorts. Cluss asked, “How does one live in a drone world and feel safe? With a modern air safety and security company. That’s how we see Fortem.”

About Fortem Technologies

Fortem Technologies is the leader in airspace awareness, safety and security for a drone world. Fortem delivers commercially available solutions that detect and measure intention of drones in real time to maintain airspace safety, while actively protecting No-Fly Zones. Based in Pleasant Grove, Utah, the company is privately held and backed by Boeing, Signia Venture Partners, DCVC, Mubadala Investment Company, and others.

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