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FAA Wants New Anti-Drone Technologies for Airports

FAA Wants New Anti-Drone Technologies for Airports
Joe Cortez

The Federal Aviation Administration is calling for new ideas and technologies which would detect and deter unmanned drones from entering airport airspace. The agency wants to give 10 different systems a practical trial at their research base, before potentially expanding successful technologies nationwide.

As more and more drone pilots take to the skies, the Federal Aviation Administration is asking for technology to prevent them from interfering with airport operations. The agency put out an open call for new systems to detect and mitigate drone activity on Aug. 21, 2020.

FAA Wants 10 Technologies to Get Practical Airport Trials

In their call for new technology, the FAA says they want to give 10 different technologies a practical trial at their research facility, located at Atlantic City International Airport (ACY). From there, another airport may be selected to test the drone prevention systems, based on “an FAA selection made from a separate, subsequent solicitation.”

In order to be successful, the FAA wants equipment which will be installed inside the 2,300 acres of Atlantic City International Airport’s air operations area, and effective for up to five miles outside the center point of the airport. The technology must be able to mitigate drone incursions within the airport areas, during different times of the day.

As a practical test, the FAA will evaluate each selected technology over a 60-day period in a variety of conditions, including weather changes. In the context of the test, mitigate means “actions taken to deter, prevent, respond to, and minimize the immediate consequences of safety and security threats posed by certain UAS operations.

Successful technologies will be “graduated” to a second airport for additional testing, to be determined at a later date. In order to be successful, the systems providers must prove that their technologies can detect a drone incurring into an airport zone, required time to mitigate the threat, as well as false alarms and unsuccessful mitigations attempted by their technologies. If a system can meet the rigorous requirements of the FAA testing, they may be awarded $150,000 in funding from the agency.

Anti-Drone Technology Sought As Incursion Incidents Spike

The FAA call for technology comes as drone incidents at airports have spiked. According to a report by Willis Towers Watson, drone incidents have increased by nearly 730 percent.

“Thus far, the aviation industry has avoided incidents resulting in injury or loss of life,” the Willis Towers Watson report reads. However, it is important to recognize the dramatic increase in drone-related incidents in recent years…This has led to some important questions being raised around the risks to airports caused by drone use.”

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1 Comment

  1. SkyIsKing

    August 28, 2020 at 6:13 am

    Unfortunately, the widespread availability of drones has created a very dangerous hazard for aircraft. Many people do not realize that drones can bring down aircraft and should not be allowed in areas where aircraft are flying at low altitudes (airports for example). Most drone pilots are quite aware of the hazards of attempting to fly their products near airports but some flying drones are unsupervised children who are unaware of the dangers of drones and aircraft. Drone use is wonderful but it has to be safe at all times. I hope that areas where drone use is hazardous are clearly marked and that drone-detection can be utilized in critical areas near airports. As a general aviation pilot, I am quite aware of the dangers of unregulated and unsupervised drone use.

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