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SkySafe can disable or takeover rogue drones in midair

Posted on April 21 2016

The number of drones occupying our skies continues to grow at an impressive clip. And that has raised some safety concerns at airports where drones can collide with jets (as one reportedly did near London’s Heathrow Airport just a couple of days ago) as well as near secure locations such as the White House (where a drone crashed last year).

A variety of solutions have been suggested to deal with drones, ranging from trained eagles to net cannons and even including anti-drone drones. But none of these solutions is particularly elegant, and they run the risk of causing an uncontrolled drone to plummet to the ground where bystanders could be hurt.

San Diego-based SkySafe says it has a better idea. The company — which according to The Verge scored a cool $3 million funding round today — has developed a system that can wirelessly identify and take control of drones in midair and either safely land them or just turn them off and let them fall.

SkySafe’s site is pretty barebones at the moment, but it does offer a video in which a drone operator is flying a drone over a desert landscape. A second person — presumably using SkySafe’s system — then walks into the frame with what looks like a large radio box. It’s unclear what the box does, but my best guess is it sends out the radio signals to communicate with drones.

The SkySafe operator uses his smartphone to identify the drone. He selects it and then chooses to either fly or disable it. Once he taps the disable button, the drone falls to the ground.

A screenshot on SkySafe’s site seems to show the app identifying a rogue drone alone with the option to soft disable it, soft disable it, or fly it.

A system like the SkySafe’s would likely fit in nicely at sporting events or other large public gatherings where officials have banned drones.

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