Here's an excerpt of this article focusing on Fortem's involvement at the show:
At this year’s Security and Counter Terror Expo (SCTX 2019), visitors arrived to view the latest themes in defence and security across eight diverse fields. From virtual reality military training suites to discussions on counter-drone technology, Talal Husseini rounds up the contemporary challenges and novel solutions shaping the future of defence.
Introducing the autonomous Drone Hunter
As previously mentioned, tackling threats from drones was one of the key discussion points at SCTX 2019. While many companies claimed to offer drone detection and jamming software, one of the key issues that Fortem CEO Timothy Bean noted was how to stop a drone that cannot be detected through RF signal, as it is not difficult to fly a UAV on waypoints using a tablet and mapping software.
To this end, Fortem created the Drone Hunter. The Drone Hunter is a fully autonomous UAV that deploys itself as soon as a drone is detected by radar technology, which incorporates hundreds of small radars that build a digitised 3D map of a certain airspace, and shoots a net to capture the enemy drone. Within the 3D airspace, radars create geo-fences that notify the operator when a drone flies out of its corridor and into the restricted airspace.
“If something enters that geo-fence you have a rules engine, you can cue the police, you can send a text message to security officials around your perimeter, you can cue a camera, you can have a guy running out with his jamming gun, not effective, but you could,” Bean said.
“One thing you can do is you cue a Drone Hunter that is in a hangar on top of a building and what it will do is it will get the message autonomously within half a second and it will take off 30m/s – like a bullet – out of its hangar. It will go to where that drone is autonomously, no human flying it, there’s a radar on the drone hunter that will lock onto that drone and dogfight it and it will shoot it down, on the move in the wind and tether it and toe it away.”
The Drone Hunter has the option to be semi-autonomous and can be instructed to launch, pursue, come home, or fire its net. But, according to Bean, no human pilot could take out a drone if it breaks the geo-fence. Fortem tested this with specialists from the US Army and their record of catching drones after 38 attempts was zero.
Bean conceded that since the Drone Hunter only has two shots, it is more of a challenge to deal with swarms of drones. However, Fortem successfully completed a four-on-four scenario where the drones arranged themselves autonomously, and a stadium or city can have multiple Drone Hunters at the ready in any given scenario.
About Fortem Technologies
Fortem Technologies is the leader in airspace awareness, security and defense. Through an advanced ecosystem of distributed radar, AI at the Edge, deep sensor integration, and autonomous drone capture, Fortem monitors, protects and defends the world’s venues, infrastructures, cities and regions from dangerous or malicious drone threats. The same ecosystem is accelerating the safety of the world’s airspace for urban air mobility. Based in Pleasant Grove, Utah, the company is privately held and backed by Boeing, Signia Venture Partners, DCVC, Mubadala Investment Company and others.