The FAA has partnered with the FBI to test new a new drone detection system at JFK International Airport in New York.
In today’s announcement of the program, the FAA says that it is “expanding research on ways to detect ‘rogue’ drones around airports.” The tests are the latest of the agency’s efforts to address what they perceive as a growing problem of drones flying in restricted airspace.
“We face many difficult challenges as we integrate rapidly evolving UAS technology into our complex and highly regulated airspace,” said Marke “Hoot” Gibson, FAA Senior Advisor on UAS Integration. “This effort at JFK reflects everyone’s commitment to safety.”
The FAA began testing the FBI’s UAS detection system at JFK on May 2, performing about 40 separate tests including 5 different rotorcraft and fixed wing drones.
The FAA’s announcement says that the JFK evaluation involved “extensive government inter-agency collaboration, and cooperation from industry and academia.” In addition to the FAA and the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice, Queens District Attorney’s Office and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey all participated in the study. “DHS and the FBI want to identify unauthorized UAS operators for law enforcement purposes, and the FAA’s mission is to provide a safe and efficient airport environment for both manned and unmanned air traffic,” says the FAA.
“We applaud the FBI and FAA for their efforts to detect and track unmanned aerial systems (UAS),” said Thomas Bosco, Port Authority Aviation Director. “We look forward to supporting continued U.S. Government efforts to identify and deploy countermeasures to neutralize the threat posed by rogue UASs.”
While the FAA points out that the FY 2016 Appropriations law mandates that the FAA continue research into drone detection around airports, the move follows the heavily publicized false report of a drone colliding with a passenger jet at Heathrow airport, which sparked new cries for more monitoring. Last week, the FAA withdrew a highly criticized plan for a public drone sightings website which would have allowed the public to report “rogue drones.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.