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SkySafe will knock that annoying drone out of the sky with wireless magic

No guns or trained eagles required.


Watching animals or people with shotguns take down drones is fun, but it’s impractical. If you’re the FAA and you want to avoid drones and planes colliding (like in the recent British Airways incident), you’re going to need better than buckshot or an eagle.

SkySafe, a startup that is today unveiling its product and announcing a seed investment from Andreessen Horowitz, says it has a better way. Launched by a group of former MIT researchers, SkySafe uses radio frequency signals to wirelessly bring drones to the ground when they’re flying in areas they shouldn’t be. Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixon led the financing on behalf of the firm.

Founder and CEO Grant Jordan, who worked with drones in the U.S. Air Force after his time at MIT, says that SkySafe is meant to work with large clients, like companies that want to protect their office parks, airports or other places that have a no-fly zone.

“Our system consists of a series of nodes covering an area. They’re scanning all the time for the specific signals that drones emit,” Jordan explained in an interview with Re/code. “The system alerts the user when a drone is detected, and because we can uniquely identify the drones, we can basically whitelist certain drones, as well.”

Jordan declined to share more exact technical details, as “we’re pretty unique in our exact capabilities in that respect.” The closest thing that SkySafe has to a direct competitor right now is AirMap, which focuses less on grounding drones and more on creating a system that allows people to keep track of drones flying around in the sky. Earlier this month, AirMap announced that it had raised $15 million in a Series A round led by General Catalyst.

As for how SkySafe plans to spend its seed money, Jordan says that the company will use the rest of 2016 to actually sell and install the product around the country.

“We’re focusing on building out our pilot installations in various customer groups, proving out the technology, building it out, expanding the platform,” Jordan said. “We’re looking to get production installations — really doing it in volume — by Q4 2016.”

You can watch a video of SkySafe in action below:

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