FAA Expanding Efforts for Drone Detection at Airports


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has signed new cooperative research and development agreements to expand the part of its Pathfinder Program that focuses on unmanned aircraft system (UAS) detection near airports.

The FAA is teaming with Gryphon Sensors LLC, Liteye Systems Inc. and Sensofusion to evaluate procedures and technologies designed to identify unauthorized UAS operations too close to airports.

“Sometimes people fly drones in an unsafe manner,” explains Marke “Hoot” Gibson, the FAA’s senior advisor on UAS integration. “Government and industry share responsibility for keeping the skies safe, and we’re pleased these three companies have taken on this important challenge.”

The companies’ prototype UAS-detection systems will be evaluated at airports selected by the FAA. The agency and its federal government partners – particularly, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – will work with the companies to study how effective their respective technologies are and ensure they do not interfere with the safety and security of normal airport operations, the FAA explains.

The agency recently partnered with DHS and CACI International on similar research.

“The collaboration between these companies and the FAA is another example of government-industry cooperation and is an important step towards the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace,” comments Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. “Equipping airports with technology that can detect, track and identify UAS that are flying unsafely or in restricted areas will help ensure the safety of the airspace for all aircraft – manned and unmanned.”

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