FAA To Begin Airport Drone Sensor Detection Systems Test

The Federal Aviation Administration will begin to expand the Pathfinder Program which focuses on detecting identifying unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flying too close to airports. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just recently signed the Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRDAs) with Gryphon Sensors, Liteye Systems Inc. and Sensofusion with the intention to evaluate procedures and technologies designed to identify unauthorized UAS operations in and around airports. This is all part of the FAA’s Pathfinder Initiative research effort aimed to address one of the significant challenges to safe integration of UAS into our nation’s airspace. Marke “Hoot” Gibson, FAA Senior Advisor on UAS Integration believes that the Government and industry share responsibility for keeping the skies safe because people sometime fly drones in unsafe manners.

For his part Gryphon Sensors President Tony Albanese completely agrees and states they are

“excited to collaborate with the FAA on utilizing technologies that detect, track and identify errant or hostile UAS in and around our nation’s airports and sensitive areas”
and that the detection of these threats are
“challenging because most of them are very small, fly low to the ground and can be pre-programed to fly autonomously.”

Thomas Scott, President of Liteye Systems added that the AUDS team is “very excited to join the FAA’s efforts to counter rogue UAVs” and believes that with the right technologies we can assist the UAV operator to conduct his mission. He also vehemently believes in protection against those who wish us harm as the legitimate use of unmanned vehicles has become so prevalent in many industries and unfortunately with this many UAVs readily available to the general public this poses a very real and serious threat. Sensofusion, Inc. CEO Tuomas Rasila revealed the company first developed the technology to detect, locate, track, and gain control over UAS three years ago as a military project and operated it with three European armies under NATO and now AIRFENCE is “protecting various customer sites in Europe, including prisons, high profile government buildings, police, and military sites.” The FAA will begin to evaluate the companies’ prototype UAS sensor detection systems to study how effective they are while ensuring that they don’t interfere with normal airport operations in terms of safety and security.

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