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Innovative technologies for Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) will be implemented by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced three awards to enhance the CBP Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) capabilities.
The sUAS technologies will increase CBP’s mission capabilities and add support to U.S. Border Patrol agents’ activities, including enhanced overall situational awareness and detection, tracking, apprehension, and search and rescue operations, according to the CBP.gov website.
The awards were given to three start-ups: Echodyne Corporation, that expertises in radar products, was awarded $118,721. Goleta Star LLC, which expertises in video radar technology, was awarded $200,000. The sum of $199,960 was awarded to Shield AI Inc. – a startup with expertise in artificial intelligence and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance systems.
“Providing capabilities to increase agent and officer safety and effectiveness is a CBP priority,” said CBP Deputy Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan. “The technologies being developed by these innovative companies have the potential to substantially increase an agent’s and officer’s operational awareness and lead to safer operations.”
The companies join the DHS Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) portfolio designed to engage non-traditional performers in developing solutions for some of the toughest threats facing homeland security.
The awards were made under SVIP’s Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) capabilities project to develop new capabilities in support of CBP’s operational mission. Companies participating in the SVIP program are eligible for up to $800,000 in non-dilutive funding to adapt commercial technologies for homeland security use cases.
Echodyne’s drone-sized radar system is a detect-and-avoid radar unit designed to be mounted on small unmanned aerial systems and autonomous vehicles for navigational purposes. But they can also be installed in fixed positions for border security surveillance, including drone detection, according to geekwire.com.
The company is a spinout from Intellectual Ventures, and takes advantage of specially designed metamaterials to produce flat-panel scanning arrays that have no moving parts. The palm-sized radar system successfully went through its first series of air-to-air flight tests over a privately owned farm field in Texas in October.
Echodyne contends that its radar is more reliable than competing technologies when it comes to enhancing situational awareness amid a wide variety of flying conditions.