The FAA Just Tested a New Drone Finding System

The FAA Just Tested a New Drone Finding System

With increasing numbers of drones straying into commercial airspace, it is only a matter of time until one of the many near misses turns into a collision and causes some serious damage or even worse, loss of life. While the recent collision at Heathrow turned out not to be a drone after all, there is the fear that drones colliding with cockpits or being sucked into jet engines could be a real threat to passenger jets. In an effort to begin to counter these trespassing drones, last week the FAA borrowed a drone detection system from the FBI to run field tests at JFK international airport.

From the 2nd of May, the FAA employed a total of five different fixed wing and rotor unmanned aerial vehicles across 40 different trial exercises in order to evaluate the usefulness of the FBI’s drone detection technology at a busy public airport. It wasn’t just the FAA invited either, but a number of experts and interested parties including FBI, Department of Justice, the Queens District Attorney’s office, and Port Authorities of New York and New Jersey attended the tests viability of detecting and prosecuting unlawful drone pilots.

The trials are still yet to be completed, with the FAA being required to continue the technology evaluation under the FY 2016 Appropriations law, with the results of the tests to build on research already completed at Atlantic City International Airport earlier this year. Sadly, even this technology isn’t able to pin down a strategy for tracking down the owners of civilian drones, but at least we can always rely on the rapidly growing number of anti-drone technologies in order to take down offending UAVs when and where they are found.

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