Department 13 (ASX: D13 or “the Company”) has been issued U.S. Patent No. 9,798,329 titled “Airborne Relays and CMIMO.”
The patent, licensed exclusively to D13 and assigned to Genghiscomm Holdings, the IP holding company of D13’s Chief Science Officer Steve Shattil, will further enhance D13’s drone defence capabilities and advanced communication networking. This patent combines several D13 innovations to provide an airborne radio network. The technology was developed to bring sensors and countermeasures used in D13’s MESMER™ system closer to where threats are detected and migrate cloud computing to the edge of the network where it can respond to threats quickly. This technology also has groundbreaking applications that supplement or replace cellular networks.
4G cellular networks are beginning to use “massive” MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output), which increases capacity by mixing signals between multiple antennas on a cell tower. However, depending on where cell phones are located and the obstacles between the tower and the phones, only a fraction of the antennas increase capacity because the antennas are too close together. The unused antennas waste power and add to hardware and operating costs. Further, the cell tower is seldom near where most phones are being used, which results in high transmission power and interference with other cells.
In a D13 airborne network, each drone functions as a cell tower antenna. Drones fly to wherever people need service, so there is never a dead spot and the phone transmits low-power signals, which extends battery life. Like a swarm of bees or a flock of birds, D13 drones navigate by sensing where other drones are. The drones also cooperate to bring the full capacity of MIMO to the network. This means that unlike cellular networks, D13’s airborne network won’t run out of radio spectrum.
D13 CEO Jonathan Hunter said, “Unlike a cellular network, which requires site surveys, real estate for cell towers and land-use permits, D13’s airborne radio network can be launched in minutes instead of years and at a fraction of the cost. This is important for future counter-drone systems too because it enables rapid installation and dynamically adapts to different sites and threat profiles. Another benefit is that the system can locate and track a person who is operating a drone in an illegal manner.”
The company anticipates there will be significant interest in the technology from telecommunications companies. Including this patent, Department 13 now holds 19 U.S.-issued patents, with 29 pending.
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