Utah company wants to protect against threat of drones

Utah company wants to protect against threat of drones

(KUTV) The misuse of drones is a common theme in the headlines of late. Just last Friday, a drone shut down fire operations over a fast-moving blaze on a California interstate.

Drone sales are booming and priced where almost anyone can own one. Drones are not just affordable, and largely unregulated, but small and able to go undetected into sensitive areas. For many drone pilots, the purchase is purely for fun and to go exploring. However, not everyone is out for fun. In fact, there is real concern drones could be the security threat of the future.

As drones gain popularity, one Utah company is working to keep them at bay by creating a safety net for business and public utilities.

Spotter RF, based in Utah, county has come up with a portable radar system that tracks small movements, unlike traditional radar used by the FAA to track commercial and private pilots.

Logan Harris a co-owner of Spotter RF, says its product will track, “people, vehicles and drones.”

The system, created in Utah County, fits in a small case, can be moved easily and uses the same technology as everyday radar, except on a micro scale. It is set up to track even the slightest movement and then zooms in on the area of motion with cameras that can send pictures to security personnel.

Spotter RF got into the business as the drone business began to boom. Today the company can see many uses for its product, though it is currently focused on protecting the nation’s electrical grid.

Some of the nation’s high power substations are known targets to terrorists because Harris says, “if you take down a number of these critical substations it will trigger a cascading failure through the whole system.”

The entire nation could go dark, shutting off power, water and the government, homes and businesses.

A California substation, recently taken out by sniper fire, could have avoided the threat before the attack happened if the area had been equipped with this new technology.

This new mini-radar technology is supported by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz. After dealing with two different drone landings at the White House this year, and a gyro copter at the capitol, he sees a need to track small objects that can fly through closed airspace undetected. Chaffetz says simply, “if you can't see them coming you can't defend yourself.”

He calls the advent of the drone, “a whole new age,” saying “ the world is changing.”

Chaffetz refers to post-9/11 reports that state, “we haven't yet begun to think with the creativity of terrorists.” This new mini radar technology could be the new standard for keeping up with these now unforeseen and creative plots by those who want to do harm.

“We don't have to jump at shadows, we don't have to overly protect everything, but let's be smart, see what's coming at us and protect critical infrastructure.”

For Chaffetz that will be done by looking into new ways to fight terrorism domestically and abroad.

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