Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) that enter the protected airspace around airports can pose serious threats to safety.
The FAA is coordinating with the government and industry partners to evaluate technologies that can be used safely to detect drones near airports.
This week, the the FAA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are conducting drone-detection research in the vicinity of Denver International Airport. This work is part of the FAA’s Pathfinder Program for UAS Detection at Airports and Critical Infrastructure.
The work in Denver is one of six technical evaluations scheduled over an 18-month period.
The State of Nevada and State of North Dakota UAS Test Sites conducted flight operations for the Denver evaluations. Industry partners involved in the Denver flights included CACI International, Liteye Systems and Sensofusion.
The FAA plans to capture the data and findings from the evaluations and draft recommendations for standards. These standards will guide the selection of drone-detection systems for airports nationwide.
Other evaluation sites include Atlantic City International Airport, JFK International Airport, Eglin Air Force Base, Helsinki Airport, and Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport.
In addition to DHS, the FAA’s federal research partners include the Department of Defense, FBI, Federal Communications Commission, Department of the Interior, Department of Energy, NASA, Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, US Secret Service and US Capitol Police.
The House Report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2016 federal appropriations law and the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 both directed the FAA to continue research into detecting unmanned aircraft in airport environments.