SAFETY Act: which drone companies have Designation status

In the slew of government programs designed to award technology companies with approvals on products that help supports the U.S. government’s efforts to fight terrorism comes another wild acronym. It’s called the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act, dubbed ‘SAFETY’ for short. The goal of the SAFETY Act? To incentivize private companies to develop and deploy anti-terrorism technologies.

The SAFETY Act, which is conducted through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has been around since 2002. Yet, it only just now has added a drone-related to company to its list. That award goes to Dedrone, which is a counterdrone company that bills itself as the world’s leader in smart airspace security. And in fact, the DHS’s granting of Designation Status to Dedrone makes Dedrone currently the first and only counter-drone company currently acknowledged under the SAFETY Act.

On Tuesday, Dedrone announced it had received Designation status from the DHS Office of SAFETY Act Implementation. That mouthful of a phrase has its own acronym of OSAI. OSAI granted Designation status to a few Dedrone products, including Dedrone’s command-and-control (C2) platform, called DedroneTracker.AI, and its DedroneSensor radio frequency (RF) sensors.

Dedrone builds a range of products now used in 32 different countries and five of the G-7 nation governments. Dedrone’s tech relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning to continuously ‘interrogate’ and ‘verify’ drones. With it, Dedrone tech ensures only drones allowed to be in the airspace are the ones flying there. As a Dedrone customer, you’ll be able to easily detect, track, identify, analyze and mitigate those rogue drones.

In total, you’ll find Dedrone at more than 800 sites, including more than 100 combined airports and stadiums.

How to earn SAFETY Act designation

To earn Designation status from the DHS OSAI, companies must demonstrate the effectiveness of their technology. Companies can demonstrate that either through rigorous operational testing or examples of prior use. Upon earning Designation, products that have such status receive a liability cap as well as exclusive action in Federal court, no joint and several liability for non-economic damages, and no punitive damages or prejudgment interest.

Dedrone is able to maintain that Desgination status through April 30, 2029. That means Dedrone technology deployed from now until April 30, 2029 is protected for the lifetime of its deployment.

And having such a designation is pretty rare. Another drone company called Drone Go Home received a similar, albeit far-lesser DHS Designation in August 2019. Drone Go Home builds a passive radio frequency-based sensor and alert system, designed to detect and locate drones. But their product only received what’s called Developmental Testing & Evaluation designation. That status comes with the expectation that the company will pass the testing and development stage (upon which they’d reach full Desgination status). Alas, Drone Go Home did not do that, and their DTE designation expired on March 30, 2023.

Why Dedrone’s Designation status matters for drones

Image courtesy of Dedrone

The DHS award of Designation status certainly gives Dedrone a leg up in the drone industry against its competitors in the anti-drone space.

This designation provides significant benefits to companies like Dedrone that have received such status, including:

  • Limited liability in case of a terrorist incident where their technology is used.
  • Reimbursement for certain costs associated with defending lawsuits.
  • Government endorsement, which can boost marketability.

But it also suggests that the drone industry is worth paying more attention to. Today’s news is a clear indication that the DHS sees airspace security from potentially harmful drones as a critical part of its anti-terrorism security apparatus.

To date, the DHS has approved more than 1,000 anti-terrorism technologies for coverage under the SAFETY Act. To date, though, only one fits the counter-drone landscape.

But that doesn’t mean more drone companies couldn’t qualify in the future. The Dedrone announcement suggests there is room for more technologies to earn SAFETY Act approval. That could include:

  • Drone detection systems that identify and track unauthorized drones.
  • Counter-drone technologies that can disable or take control of malicious drones.
  • Security drones equipped with surveillance or inspection capabilities for critical infrastructure.

For drone manufacturers and developers interested in learning more about the SAFETY Act and QATT designation, visit the official DHS SAFETY Act website.


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