Pocket-Sized Echodyne Radar May Be Breakthrough To Protect Us From Drones—And Drone Collisions

Frankenberg and Tom Driscroll co-founded the Kirkland, Washington-based startup in 2014 backed by investors including the Bill Gates, Madrona Group, New Enterprise Associates and Vulcan Capital.

Today the firm still counts only around 85 employees—all but around ten of whom are engineers—but it and its radars have won a series of awards, including first place in the 2018 ThunderDrone event hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command.

After taking a few years to develop, test and prototype its key technology, since around 2019 Echodyne has been rapidly spinning out variants of its radar to market suited to different applications.

Unlike traditional radars that mechanically rotate their antennas and can only “look” in one direction at a time, a phased-array system uses a phase shifter in each array element to steer the beam without physically moving the antenna, allowing it to quickly scan any aspects of its arc in milliseconds.