US homeland security department selects Cobalt Solutions in SBIR Phase II drone detection programme

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme has awarded USD750,000 to Texas-based small business Cobalt Solutions to develop a detection and tracking sensor system that can identify nefarious small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in an urban environment.

The Phase II award follows a successful demonstration by Cobalt Solutions of its 5G Passive Radar UAS Tracking and Targeting (5G-PRT) sensor system in Phase I.

Cobalt plans to develop its Urban Canyon Detection Tracking and Identification of Small UAV solution under Phase II to provide an affordable, passive and easily deployable system that leverages already available commercial 5G signals to detect and track small UAS in urban canyon environments.

At the completion of the 24-month Phase II contract, SBIR awardees will have developed a prototype to demonstrate the advancement of technology, spearheading the potential for Phase III funding. Under Phase III, SBIR performers will seek to secure funding from private and/or non-SBIR government sources, with the eventual goal to commercialize and bring to market the technologies from phases I and II.

“Cobalt’s technology increases the number of exploitable drone signatures for detection and tracking,” said Dr. Jeff Randorf, DHS S&T engineering advisor and SBIR topic manager. “As more 5G mmWave transceivers are deployed in city centers, the ability to detect and track drones in complex urban geometries becomes easier, while not contributing to an already crowded radio frequency spectrum.”

“It is inevitable that as technology evolves, so do new threats,” said Dusty Lang, DHS SBIR director. “The SBIR programme is an innovative tool that provides critical early-stage funding to small businesses to develop technologies that can be utilized by industry and advance research and development in support of DHS technology needs.”

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