A British consortium recently joined a growing number of anti-drone tech companies tasked with monitoring and removing unauthorized drones from airport areas in the U.S.
The FAA chose Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics and Enterprise Control Systems to join its drone defense program in a partnership with American company Liteye Systems under the title Anti-UAV Defense System. Dubbed “the world’s first fully integrated detect-track-disrupt-defeat” drone defense system, the consortium joins Liteye, with Gryphon Sensors, Liteye Systems and Sensofusion in an FAA Cooperative Research and Development Agreement.
The partnership is one piece of the FAA’s Pathfinder Initiative which is designed, the agency says, to address three areas of national drone integration – “visual line-of-sight operations in urban areas, extended visual line-of-sight operations in rural areas [and] beyond visual line-of-sight in rural/isolated areas.”
“AUDS is able to operate effectively in complex airport environments night and day whatever the weather and without disrupting other airport equipment,” AUDS spokesman Mark Radford stated. “Using AUDS, the operator can effectively take control of a drone and force a safe landing inside or outside the airport perimeter.”
Radford added that AUDS can detect a drone from six miles out with the help of scanning radar. An errant drone is then tracked with infrared and standard cameras and can be taken down with a radio signal jammer.
“The system can also assist airport authorities to track down the UAV pilots for prosecution by providing evidence (video footage or radar tracks) to the relevant authorities,” Radford added. “We can also integrate ‘friendly assets’ into the AUDS platform – for example a ‘friendly’ drone – to extend the threat detection and situational awareness capabilities of the system and to help capture rogue drone pilots.”
The FAA has also partnered with DHS and CACI International on similar research to explore how that company’s prototype detection technology may help detect drones in unauthorized areas.
The announcement comes on the heels of a recent NASA test deployment of the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) platform that included 24 drones flying simultaneously at the FAA’s six American test sites.