Counter-drone technology and drone airspace management were popular topics at last week’s AUVSI XPONENTIAL.
And for good reason: most thought leaders across the industry agree that drones will revolutionize business, politics, and society only after the airspace is regulated. This is precisely why WhiteFox creates the products it does. And for the second year in a row, WhiteFox’s efforts were honored by the most prestigious awards in the industry.
The AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards honor innovators in the unmanned systems community that demonstrate a commitment to advancing technology, leading and promoting safe operations, and developing programs that use unmanned systems to improve the human condition.
Headquartered five miles outside of Washington DC in Arlington, VA, AUVSI is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated entirely to advancing the communities and industries of robotics and unmanned systems. With representatives from over 60 countries, AUVSI members include businesses and professionals in academia, government, and industry.
MIT, Intel, NASA, and other major players in the drone tech industry were nominated and awarded for their innovation at the Association for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles International (AUVSI) XPONENTIAL event in Chicago last week. Seeing over 8,500 thought leaders, regulators, and operators across the commercial and defense sectors, AUVSI XPONENTIAL is the largest, most comprehensive trade show for unmanned and autonomous systems in the world.
Adding Trust to the Drone Airspace
Today there are over 1 million commercial off the shelf drones registered in the US, with estimates for unregistered drones doubling that figure. When a drone flies over a neighborhood, city square, or stadium, there is still no authority that can confirm in real time who’s flying the drone, why they’re flying it, and if they’re authorized to do so. Though there are clear laws in place (like not flying above 400ft, over groups of people, or beyond visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS)), there still remains an infrastructure to hold operators accountable and enforce those laws.
WhiteFox has set out as a market leader to solve this airspace problem. In 2018, WhiteFox won 1st place for its pocket-portable counter-drone product, Scorpion (named FLEA at the time). This year, WhiteFox’s flagship counter-drone product, DroneFox Mobile, won 1st place for UAS MITIGATION & SECURITY. Though both products have now received the most prestigious counter-drone award in the industry, their strengths differ, and can complement one another.
While Scorpion is a wearable device that can automatically mitigate drones using intelligent RF analysis, DroneFox Mobile is a larger, more comprehensive product with a longer range and the ability to identify the intent of drone operators when flying in restricted airspace. DroneFox gives users the power to automatically detect drones, determine their intent, and return them home to their operator, if needed.
Drones Need an ID, too
On the drone airspace security side of the equation, WhiteFox’s secure remote identification of drones, WISDM, improved from 2nd place last year to 1st place this year in XCELLENCE IN INNOVATION. WISDM provides a digital, always changing license plate for drones that ensures only authorized drones are allowed to operate in sensitive airspace. WISDM gives each drone a digital ID that is secure from hackers, offering security, accountability, and trust to a drone airspace that today contains millions of unregistered and unaccounted for drones.
In second place behind WISDM was Intel’s Drone Light Shows, which is a choreographed performance of over 150 lighted drones that have appeared at Universal Studios, Coachella, multiple Super Bowls, and the Olympics.
"We were shortlisted alongside exceptional companies, so it's an honor to have won awards in two categories," said Luke Fox, Founder and CEO of WhiteFox. "We are constantly striving to develop innovative, holistic drone airspace security solutions that address the complex and often conflicting issues of security, privacy and usability. DroneFox Mobile and WISDM both showcase the cutting-edge technology our team is producing to meet the needs of the industry, and we're very proud they have been recognized."
Russ Butler, Vice President of Security for the San Francisco 49ers and Levi’s Stadium, delivered the closing keynote presentation on Day 2 of ISC West in Las Vegas last week, the largest security event in the US. Butler, who’s from England and brings decades of international security experience to the 49ers organization, detailed his perspective on the past, present, and future of stadium security.