Fortem Technologies Raises $15M Series A To Advance Airspace Safety And Security

SALT LAKE CITYMarch 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Fortem Technologies, Inc., an innovator in airspace awareness and intelligence, announced today that they have closed a $15 million Series A funding round led by DCVC (Data Collective) with key participation from Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, and Mubadala Investment Company, as well as Manifest Growth, New Ground Ventures and founding investor, Signia Venture Partners.

Fortem Technologies, Inc., Announces DroneHunter: First Fully Autonomous Counter UAS Solution Using AI-Enabled Radar Technology

Powered by Fortem TrueView Radar, DroneHunter acts as “eyes in the sky” to alert security personnel of rogue aircraft operating in no-fly zones or unauthorized airspace

SALT LAKE CITYFeb. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Fortem Technologies, Inc., announced today the release of DroneHunter™, the first military-tested unmanned aircraft that provides perimeter intrusion detection and protection by autonomously patrolling an airspace and towing away any rogue drones from the sky. Using AI algorithms, the DroneHunter system provides detection, monitoring and capture of rogue drones over restricted airspace or no-fly zones. Once a rogue drone is detected and captured, DroneHunter can tether and return, or safely discard to a predefined safe zone.

“Drones are accessible to everyone now and are beginning to proliferate to enable many new services,” said CEO of Fortem Technologies, Timothy Bean. “However, to fully embrace these  benefits, we must monitor the airspace and secure no-fly zones. Fortem’s safe, low-cost detection and mitigation systems like DroneHunter are game-changing, enabling the benefits of a drone world to be realized.”

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Next terrorist attack with commercially available drones?

New market study on counter UAV technologies indicates terrorist attack with UAVs (drones) is matter of time

AMSTERDAMFeb. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Violent non-state actors have increasingly been making use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) also known as drones. More recently, some terrorist organizations – among them, the Islamic State and Hezbollah – have extended their use of UAVs to include the deployment of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in warzones. Now, the threat of UAVs being used in attacks in Europe or North America is rising.

Commercial UAVs – considerably smaller and cheaper than military versions – have become widespread in industrialized societies. Their applications range from agriculture to the filming of sporting events. However, violent non-state actors have quickly learned how to adapt this technology to their advantage.

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GRIFF Aviation will now start production of its revolutionary heavy-lift Unmanned Aerial System (UAS).

With successful testing of the company’s beta-version now concluded, the resulting GRIFF 2.0 Master Design is a world first – the only all-metal drone built to commercial aircraft standards.

CEO Leif Johan Holand said that the UAS – capable of carrying payloads of up to 150kg (331lb) – exemplified the GRIFF Aviation approach to innovation. He said: ‘If you want to create something new, you must start from the very beginning and pick a different path than everybody else. That’s exactly what we’ve done with the GRIFF 2.0 Master Design.

‘With an uncompromising approach to quality, design, engineering and performance, we have redefined what Unmanned Aerial Systems are all about. This is not merely evolution – it’s a revolution.’

The GRIFF 2.0 Master Design has been fully designed from the ground up. Mr Holand describes the company’s focus on reducing the number of parts as well as weight as ‘an obsession’. He explains: ‘While the rest of the industry cuts carbon tubes and sheets, assembling hundreds of standard parts to get airborne, our thinking was radically different. We believe that more parts in an assembly mean an increased chance of failure. They also add a tremendous amount of weight closely followed by a loss in performance.

By contrast, we have machined sophisticated, complex structures with extreme precision out of large, solid pieces of still lightweight aluminium using state-of-the-art CNC technology.

Despite its metal construction, the GRIFF 2.0 Master Design is light, strong and extremely compact.

Another significant modification is the introduction of the four-arm array, rather than the original eight arms. Extensive testing has shown the four-arm configuration to provide optimal performance.

Mr Holand, speaking from the company’s global headquarters in Sykkylven, Norway, added: ‘In close cooperation with the Civil Aviation Authority in Norway, we have worked incredibly hard and put our heart in soul into this project to secure our clients the safest, most efficient and reliable UAS possible.’

GRIFF Aviation’s Technical Manager, Hans Petter Førde, said the new version featured a number of enhancements over the original design. He said: ‘Flexibility is paramount. We have made this new GRIFF as multipurpose as possible; one drone will be able to do several different jobs during the same day.

‘Changing the payload will only take seconds. Sensors in each end of the drone can also quickly be changed – this could be a standard camera, a night vision camera or a thermal imaging camera, depending on mission requirements. Swapping these out is swift and easy.

Increased uptime
‘On the inside, we made room for a large cargo bay where the avionics systems and third-party equipment is completely shielded from the power electronics – this increases reliability and safety. Battery swapping is also extremely fast and hassle-free, without the need for tools. All of these factors contribute to greatly increased uptime.

‘We’ve kept ease-of-use for our clients well to the fore.’

Parrot is creating a new ‘prosumer’ drone division after cutting a third of its workforce

With three new drones.

Parrot Disco-Pro AG

French drone maker Parrot is starting a new division to bridge the gap between its extremely expensive commercial line, which cost upward of $11,000, and its extremely inexpensive consumer drones, which can cost as little as $100.

he new division, dubbed Parrot Professional, is now making drones that fall into the “prosumer” category, the $1,000-$5,000 price range. Drones in this new division are intended to support construction and agriculture with a new work tool without the need for a professional pilot.

Earlier this year, Parrot announced it was laying off nearly 300 employees, about a third of its entire drone operation, and reorganizing the company to focus more on aircraft for commercial applications.

Poor performance in the fourth quarter of 2016 caused the company to miss its sales estimates by 15 percent, and Parrot projected that sales in its consumer drone business were unlikely to improve enough to generate “profitable growth … over the medium and long term.”

The French drone manufacturer is one of the few companies that actually competes with China’s DJI, the biggest drone maker in the world. DJI holds about 50 percent of the market share for commercial and consumer drones North America, according to Colin Snow, founder of Skylogic Research, a firm tracking the drone industry.

Still, DJI is stiff competition. For drones in the $500 to $1,000 price range, DJI claimed about 36 percent of the market by units sold in North America last year. Parrot captured around 7 percent of the market in the same price range, Snow found.

To ring in the new division, Parrot is unveiling three new drones, all of which are basically souped-up versions of aircraft from its consumer line.

The Disco-Pro AG, for example, is a modification on the Disco drone, loaded with high-performance sensors and autonomous flight-planning software. That drone will be available for sale in June and will cost $4,500.

The other two drones are tweaked versions of the Bebop-Pro 3D, which provides aerial image capture for 3-D modeling, and the Bebop-Pro Thermal, which is equipped with a thermal imaging camera. The Bebop-Pro 3D will cost $1,100 and will be available in June. The price for the Pro-Thermal has not been released, nor has its availability date.

DJI has long made drones in the “prosumer” category, though until recently those have in large part catered to use cases in advanced camerawork and cinematography. The Chinese drone company does have a small line of aircraft it markets for things like power line inspection and crop spraying, and last year it hosted a conference in San Francisco, AirWorks, in an effort to engage deeper with the construction, agriculture and industrial inspection industries.

Parrot, on the other hand, has been serving customers in agriculture and construction for years, mostly through its commercial subsidiary Sensefly, which sells a wide range of aircraft that range in price between $11,000 and $25,000, according to a Parrot spokesperson.

The French drone maker’s new “prosumer” bridge between its super-high end and low-priced consumer products may give Parrot a leg up on DJI when it comes to serving new smaller agricultural and construction customers, since it’s already familiar with the needs of those industries with Sensefly.