Interview With Omer Sharar - Co-Founder & CEO of infiniDome

Updated on: May 16, 2024
Shauli Zacks Shauli Zacks
Updated on: May 16, 2024

In a recent SafetyDetectives interview, Omer Sharar, co-founder and CEO of infiniDome, sheds light on the journey behind his company and the motivation that fueled its inception. With a background in Math and Computer Science, coupled with over a decade of experience as a SW Systems Engineer, Sharar unveils the critical role GPS technology plays in synchronizing essential networks. Highlighting a pivotal moment where the vulnerability of GPS systems became apparent, Sharar shares how this revelation spurred the creation of infiniDome, aiming to provide proportional defense solutions for critical applications such as UAVs and autonomous vehicles. Through innovative GPS protection and navigation resilience solutions, infiniDome strives to safeguard against Electronic Warfare attacks and ensure the reliability of navigation systems in today’s evolving battlefield landscape.

Thank you for your time. Could you talk about your journey and what motivated you to start infiniDome?

A bit about me, my name is Omer Sharar. I’m the co-founder and CEO at infiniDome. I am a Math and Computer Science BSc and MBA graduate, and I worked as a SW Systems Engineer for over 10 years in large and small companies.

My background in the GPS world comes from the critical infrastructure and timing world. GPS is used extensively for synchronizing critical networks (such as power grids, telecom, financial, defense networks), and I planned and deployed GPS-based time servers to sync them. One of my largest customers back then asked me, “How well does your solution cope, or bounce back from being jammed?” That was an eye-opening event for me because I realized that I could buy a GPS jammer for $50 that “kills” a $10,000 GPS-based time server from 100m away.

Looking for existing protection solutions (from great companies like Elbit, IAI, and more) led me to understand that they are almost entirely irrelevant – not only for the protection of time servers but even more so for mobility applications like UAVs and autonomous vehicles. These solutions were irrelevant primarily because of their large size, heavy weight, and above everything – their skyrocketing price. They are great for the protection of fighter jets, helicopters, and $30M UAVs but are not relevant for smaller applications – whether in the defense market or in the commercial\HLS markets.

I knew then and there that without a “proportional defense solution,” such critical applications would not have any protection, and any autonomous future would be jeopardized.

Following the world of investments, we immediately started aiming our planned solutions for the protection of autonomous vehicles which will not happen without navigation resiliency. But COVID brought a reality check to this world by pushing off anything without immediate ROI – like level 4 & 5 autonomous vehicles. Together with our earliest investors, NextGear Ventures, we decided to analyze where our existing and future products have the best product-market-fit that answers the biggest pain in the market, and the answer was – aerospace, unmanned, defense.

For those not familiar with infiniDome, could you provide an overview of what the company does and its main services?

infiniDome develops and already deploys globally its GPS protection and navigation resilience solutions tailored to defend UAVs and other vehicles from GPS EW (Electronic Warfare) attacks.

Our main advantage is what we call CSWaP-R – optimized for low Cost, small Size, low Weight, low Power, and fully retrofit (meaning you could take almost any existing GPS-based platform and retrofit our solutions on it, making it 100x more resilient than without our protection).

infiniDome’s new products and one of the greatest advantages we offer today is what we call “SW-defined anti-jamming”. Our new products have a highly flexible SW core that could be updated to cope with the highly dynamic and evolving threats we see in today’s battlefield.

Along with both Honeywell Aerospace and Hanwha Aerospace (infiniDome investors and gigantic strategic partners from USA and South Korea), infiniDome also offers full navigation solutions with multiple layers of resiliency including inertial and other alternative navigation capabilities.

Who are your primary clients, and in which sectors do you see the most demand for GPS protection?

Although we had been working with several commercial or HLS entities (such as critical infrastructure, several Departments of Transportation, and others) as well as working on future solutions (primarily with Honeywell Aerospace) for protection of commercial aviation protection, we are almost entirely focused today on the defense sector and in it, focused almost entirely on UAV protection.

As GPS is the weakest signal we use today (emitted from 20,000km above ground level from satellites orbiting earth, when reaching our UAVs, vehicles, or phones, its signal is about as weak as the signal received from a 20W lightbulb lit in California whose light you try to see in NY), all one has to do to jam it (create a denial of service attack for GPS) is to transmit something, anything really in the same known and constant frequency range (L1, L2, L5).

The reason UAVs are in such dire need for protection is that they don’t only use GPS to get from point A to B but to stabilize and stay in the air. The easiest way to take a drone down is to jam its GPS (which can be done from a very large distance because of its weak strength).

We provide our solutions today primarily to UAV manufacturers and integrators, providing their solutions to friendly governments around the world (e.g., Israel, US, EU, India, South Korea, and more).

The most important thing that we are seeing today when we talk about the demand for our solutions is that sometime after the Ukraine war started, their requirements had shifted from $10M UAVs and expensive helicopter projects towards attractive, expendable small UAVs that without any protection, are simply ineffective. With massively growing attacks coming from Russia into EU, China in the east, North Korea, and Iran and its proxies, governments & militaries all not only increased their investment in UAVs in 2024 they now also understand the meaning of ensuring their UAVs’ resilient navigation capabilities.

Can you discuss any recent technological innovations or advancements that infiniDome has developed?

The main “secret sauce” that infiniDome employs in its patented architecture is based on its proprietary RFIC (chip) that we had developed over a very long time and manufacture at the “Tower Jazz” facilities in Israel. This allows our products to be so “CSWaP optimized”.

One of the things we had learned from the beginning of the war in Ukraine and especially from the beginning of the war in Israel is that the GPS attack threat is not constant, it is changing and morphing at a very rapid pace.

We are leveraging our flexible SW core to be able to update our GPSdome2 to cope with the new emerging threats.

Given the ease of access to GPS jammers and their low cost, what are some of the specific challenges your technology has to overcome to effectively protect against these devices?

First and foremost, to be relevant to protect smaller UAVs, the solutions HAVE TO BE PROPORTIONAL (small enough, light enough, and cheap enough). No one will buy a $30K protection (average price for traditional “military” GPS protection solutions) to protect a $30K UAV.

When the product is also retrofit (like our solutions) it could be easily deployed and we able to upgrade existing systems in the field without having to replace their primary nav systems entirely.

Finally, the SW flexibility is key.

Most traditional military solutions are built like an antenna – what you buy today is what you will have in 2 years when you use this UAV. That no longer holds water. Much like an anti-virus that you buy with your computer today, if you won’t update it, in less than 1 year your computer will be vulnerable to new attacks. Our products are based on the same principle.

How do GPS jamming attacks impact safety and security in critical industries, and what measures can companies take to mitigate these risks?

As can be seen in Israel, the GPS attacks are everywhere and impact everything. From ambulances trying to reach their patients, to civilians navigating to work to commercial aerospace to Wolt deliveries.

In aerospace and defense, the problem as I said previously is most acute since it literally puts the vehicles in immediate danger of crashing to the ground.

The solutions must be protection of the GPS as well as complete solutions like the ones we are offering with our partners that could include inertial, radars, and even video-based nav solutions.

About the Author
Shauli Zacks
Updated on: May 16, 2024

About the Author

Shauli Zacks is a tech enthusiast who has reviewed and compared hundreds of programs in multiple niches, including cybersecurity, office and productivity tools, and parental control apps. He enjoys researching and understanding what features are important to the people using these tools.