Keeping Secrets Safe From Prying Eyes in the Sky

(DGIwire) – Imagine being in charge of security at a professional sports stadium, entertainment destination, movie studio or high-tech corporate campus—and watching a drone approach and hover overhead. The sense of intrusion would be palpable. Unfortunately, this is no sci-fi scenario; it’s happening already, with a rash of incidents  spurring searches for better drone protection. For example, in fall 2016, the Daily Mail reported how several drones were spotted during the filming of the seventh season of HBO’s popular show Game of Thrones, presumably to gain information about the plot.

Many such organizations soon may be able to commandeer drones that enter into their airspace, according to R&D Magazine. This is due to the efforts of Maryland-based Department 13, which has developed a technology platform, called MESMER™, that enables the detection and mitigation of radio-controlled devices.

“We now have the ability to take control of a drone so that it can be landed safely,” says Jonathan Hunter, CEO of Department 13. “We have developed the technology to avoid shooting a drone down, which presents separate risks that can be avoided.”

MESMER is a revolutionary commercial counter-drone platform, using sophisticated automated detection and mitigation strategies to stop, redirect, land or take total control of a target drone or radio-controlled device. This is done with protocol manipulation, which takes advantage of weaknesses found in all digital radio protocols. MESMER is also flexible, operating as a stand-alone system, or working in tandem with existing hardware solutions. MESMER is ideal for both commercial and defense/security organizations to deal with the emerging threat of ubiquitous autonomous systems. The company’s counter-drone solution offers the best of Department 13’s innovative technologies and deep experience.

Unlike other systems that use radio jamming and standard electronic mitigation techniques, MESMER uses signal features and metadata to select and apply strategies in order to curtail drone threats, regardless of how drone vendors may try and prevent this from happening. This protocol manipulation is low-power so it offers an advantage by not affecting non-targeted communication signals. This also allows MESMER to operate below one watt and within U.S. regulatory (FCC) constraints.

Hunter and his Department 13 colleagues suggest that threats, constraints and user needs will continuously change and evolve as drones and devices are implemented in the real world. So instead of a purpose-built hardware solution approach, they designed MESMER to use protocol manipulation to handle even the most complex of scenarios, providing end users with a powerful and flexible counter-drone system.

The MESMER platform addresses diverse threat scenarios and drone types. It allows the possibility of “non-kinetic mitigations” (i.e. drones are not shot down) that pose no public hazards. Its open software architecture integrates with other security applications. Furthermore, the platform is operational in multi-terrain (urban, remote and rugged) environments, and it is easily deployed to support mobile counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) operation.

“All commercial organizations should consider a drone mitigation strategy when developing a security and safety plan,” Hunter adds.

 

 

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