Aug. 24, 2020

The FAA recently announced plans to evaluate at least 10 technologies or systems that could detect and mitigate potential safety risks posed by unmanned aircraft systems. (IUAS).

According to the agency, the detection systems must be capable of lawfully and safely detecting, identifying, monitoring or tracking UAS, but do not have the capability to disable, disrupt, seize control or otherwise directly interfere with UAS operations. Meanwhile, mitigation refers to “actions taken to deter, prevent, respond to and minimize immediate consequences of safety and security threats posed by certain UAS operations.”

The detection and mitigation program is driven in part by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which required the FAA to verify technologies used to detect or mitigate potential risks from drones do not interfere with safe airport operations. The technologies will initially be tested at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center, located next to New Jersey’s Atlantic City International Airport (ACY).

“The FAA and the entire aviation industry, including traditional aviation segments and emerging segments, are committed to the safe integration of new technologies into the National Airspace System,” said Heidi Williams, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure. “This program is a positive next step toward the goal of mitigating any security and safety risks of drone use, while ensuring airport operations, including avionics systems and signals, are not negatively impacted.”

Manufacturers, vendors and other interested parties have 45 days to respond to the announcement. The FAA will soon issue a solicitation seeking four airport operators interested in hosting additional research and testing.