Send in the Drones!

By David Cremin

We all know that drone technology is mature, and the presence of drones is broad, and growing.  The growth comes from both military and consumer usage.  Consumers are increasingly “playing” with drones in all kinds of ways and some of that playing has caused issues.  We all read about drone interference during the firefighting efforts in the Santa Barbara fires a few years ago.  And Gatwick airport.  Obviously, military drone use is sophisticated and growing.  How about recent events at oil fields in Saudi Arabia?  

And then in a 24 hour period I read two eye opening articles:

1.       Time Magazine: America needs a new strategic triad ; and

2.       Los Angeles Times:  FAA certifies UPS for drone deliveries with few limitations

Ever see a brown truck on the road.  Yeah!  The skies are going to be full of brown drones!!!  And our enemies can use drones to access us anywhere, pretty easily. 

We were thinking about the unintended consequence of drone technology a lot after the Santa Barbara fires, and it was one of the drivers for us to provide seed stage capital to Whitefox Defense in 2017, along with Stage Venture Partners, Serra Ventures and Okapi.  We met founder Luke Fox when he was experimenting with his innovation to “mitigate” a drone when and where it wasn’t wanted, or deemed dangerous.  Mitigate means, returning a drone back to its unaware teenage operator, or guiding the drone to a safe place, or dropping it on the spot.  Whitefox makes all this happen instantly, in real-time, enabled by advances in mobile and connectivity.  We believe Whitefox is unique, and a very timely solution; these two articles simply amplified for me the importance of drone airspace management.