Entrepreneurs come in two breeds, according to Technion alumnus Zohar Halachmi ’96. Those who have technology and are looking for a need, and those, like Halachmi, who have found a need and are developing technology for it.

For his latest venture, Halachmi saw the growing safety risk in the proliferation of drones. So in 2016, he co-founded D-Fend Solutions to protect from drones that are launched with an intent to cause harm.

His technology detects suspicious drones and takes control of their navigation system while leaving other drones and communication systems in the area untouched. Working to prevent dangerous incidents from occurring, D-Fend’s solutions are currently being used to protect major international airports, stadiums and arenas, landmark buildings, VIPs, and homeland security. During an open-air mass celebrated by Pope Francis and some 60,000 worshippers in 2021, D-Fend Solutions detected a rogue drone and sent it back to its original takeoff position.

“We’re protecting ourselves from drones,” Halachmi told CTech in an April 2022 interview. “The drone society is a very important one. It’s the future of many things. We want to support the growth of this society and secured drone adoption, while providing innovation and technology.”

Drones are no longer solely the province of government and armies. Amazon, FedEx, and even Disneyland use drones. Disneyland Paris dazzles visitors at nighttime with the park’s 30th anniversary logo floating above Sleeping Beauty’s Castle — thanks to a cluster of drones. But some people deploy drones for malicious purposes or are unaware of their potential danger. If you use drones next to airports, for example, and “try to take a very cool picture of any kind of plane taking off, that’s dangerous,” Halachmi said.

Researching the counter-drone market prior to launching his business, Halachmi found that traditional solutions were fine for big aircraft but didn’t work well for situations such as crowd-based events like the Super Bowl or potential attacks within cities or airports. Jamming systems could disable the drone but could also shut down important cyber grids. And “kinetic” solutions, referring to physically taking down a drone, can incur huge collateral damage. Avoiding both routes, D-Fend’s cyber-takeover system takes control of the drone and safely lands it at a predetermined destination.

Raised in Israel, Halachmi earned his bachelor’s degree at the Technion in industrial engineering, cum laude, and his master’s degree in information systems engineering from Tel Aviv University. Prior to launching D-Fend Solutions, he co-founded NlightU, an e-commerce platform for IT professionals, and SellAring, a company that helped smartphone app developers create better products.