Oregon City, OR – Drone are popping up all over the U.S., and one company, Domestic Drone Countermeasures, says it has an answer for those who are looking for a way to keep those eyes in the sky from invading their private space.
The company will not discuss its specific technology because it is still applying for several patents. It says such countermeasures are “non-offensive, non-combative and not destructive.” According to a spokesman, “drones will not fall from the sky, but they will be unable to complete their missions.” The company also states that “no technology or system can be exported outside the U.S.A. or used in or for illegal activity.”
The proliferation of drones can no longer be ignored, the company says. A Google map on the company’s web site shows that few areas in the country are free from their presence. They rack wildfires in Colorado and survey farm crops in the Mid-West and grape vineyards in California.
Tens of thousands of domestic drones zip through U.S. skies, often ignoring federal restrictions that require even the police and the military to get special permits. Driven by billions in defense industry and commercial research dollars, domestic drones are poised for widespread expansion into U.S. airspace once regulation catches up with reality.
Domestic Drone Countermeasures exists because some of its engineers recognized unmanned aerial vehicles to be unwanted eyes in the sky. A statement on the company’s web site explains the reason for the need for such countermeasures:
Many different, large area, small area, mobile and fixed countermeasures and systems are available. All are non-offensive, non-combative and not destructive. These countermeasures are highly effective and undefeatable by most current domestic drone technology. Single and multiple layer systems ensure success at impeding all typical drone sensor, IR and camera capability and effectiveness.
“I was personally concerned and I think there’s a lot of other people worried about this,” said Timothy Faucett, a lead engineer on the project. “We’ve already had many inquiries, a lot of people saying ‘Hey, I don’t want these drones looking at me.'”
Faucett won’t discuss specifics but he says the boxes do not interfere with a drone’s navigation system and don’t involve “jamming of any kind.” He says their technology is “an adaptation of something that could be used for military application” with the “combat element replaced with a nondestructive element.”
“We understand the nature of the equipment drone manufacturers are using and understand how to counter their sensors,” said Faucett. “We’re not going to be countering Predator drones that are shooting cruise missiles, but we’re talking about local law enforcement drones and commercial ones that people might be using for spying.”
The company is working to design custom anti-drone boxes for customers. “We envision it could be cheap enough for residential use very soon,” Faucett said. “It’s quite possible to deploy it if you were shooting a movie and wanted to protect your set, or if you had a house in Malibu and wanted to protect that, we could deploy it there. If a huge company like Google wanted to protect its server farms, it can be scaled up for a larger, fixed installation.”