Orem company's radar system could help solve wildfire/drone dilemma

OREM, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - After unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) forced several helicopters battling wildfires out of the sky this week, a local company claims it has a solution to the ongoing drone dilemma. 
 
As modern-day drone technologies advance, so do safety concerns.  Lately in Southern Utah, officials have seen how the devices could be disastrous, as UAV operators continue breaking the law by flying drones over wildfires. 
 
"They're not very big, but they can do some serious damage, if they were colliding with say the propellers or the engine of one of those aircraft," said Logan Harris, CEO of SpotterRF in Orem.
 
That is why aerial fire crews have to cancel their operation every time a drone interferes.  Besides the obvious safety concern, each incident wastes big time money.  
 
So, what if authorities had a way to assess a given area and foresee any possible threat before ever dispatching a helicopter?  
 
Harris says his company's special product allow just that, saving time, money and even potentially lives when it comes to fighting wildfires.  The product is a tiny radar system with a large range that can detect threats like drones. 
 
"This is one called A-2,000..." Harris pointed.  "You pop it up, point it into the sky, and you turn it on.  It's really quite simple," he explained. 
 
The high-tech radar can detect drones from 3,000 feet away and even jam radio frequencies to bring them down, though that is not exactly legal. 
 
"What can be done is if you can see where it came from, you can go back, find the operator, and tell the operator, 'Bring it down.'  That's what's legal and possible right now," Harris said. 
 
The technology is small, portable, and easy to use.  Harris says he is eager to help Utah's brave firefighters stay safe, though so far, no agencies have taken him up on getting a system, which costs a minimum of $50,000. 
 
 

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