Major organizations like the NFL, Disney and Apple will soon may be able to commandeer drones that are entering into their airspace.
Department 13, a Maryland-based technology firm, has developed MESMER, a software platform that enables the detection and mitigation of radio controlled devices.
Jonathan Hunter, the chairman and CEO of Department 13, said in an exclusive interview with R&D Magazine explained that shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 the company began researching how to take control of drones.
“During the research we found ways to claim control of a drone,” Hunter said. “Now we actually have the ability to take control of the drone, so I can land it safely.
“We think it is cutting edge, it is going to be a game changer.”
Hunter said with the MESMER system, which is designed more for larger entities than individuals, you can identify the type of drone and what it is equipped with and then either take it down or push it out of your airspace.
“What happens is MESMER detects the drone, identifies the type of drone, we certain capabilities to kind of guess intent, but I can actually push the drone out of my area of operations two or three times,” he said. “But if you keep coming back in after I’m pushing you out then at that point in time I’m going to take you down.
“We have that capability to do things like that and I can actually return the drone to the kid.”
However, MESMER does not employ kinetic attacks or jamming. The device provides an automated detection and finessed mitigation strategies that can be selected to function autonomously or manually.
MESMER’s detection stage occurs using cognitive techniques for blind signal detection and characterization to determine the existences of threats.
According to Hunter, drones are currently being used in criminal enterprises, as well as more harmless applications.
“You see drones fly, you see the Narcos are using drones to fly drugs across the border, you see drones land at the U.S. Open, PGA tournaments, the NFL,” he said. “You see ISIS use weaponized drones.”
Hunter said through testing they did not discover a type of drone that MESMER didn’t work with.
While the product may also be used by law enforcement and the military, Hunter said it is ideal for larger organizations like professional sports leagues and major companies like Apple and Disney.
He also said Hollywood would be able to utilize MESMER. For example, during the filming of the seventh season of HBO’s popular show Game of Thrones, several drones were spotted in attempt to gain information on the plot of the hit show.