Government, Police Testing Anti-UAS Technology

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Government agencies and law enforcement have been quietly testing ways to disable rogue unmanned aerial systems, Reuters reported this week. In efforts to address security concerns that come with commercially available unmanned aircraft, authorities are developing technology to track and disable them. According to Reuters, New York’s police department tested a system over the winter that uses microwaves to remotely retrieve a UAS from Times Square. Citing an unnamed source, Reuters said the FAA, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense are involved in the efforts. The issue has gained more attention this year amid reports of close calls with aircraft, interference with operations such as firefighting and security violations. 

Government testing of anti-UAS devices has been ongoing. The Secret Service in March announced it was testing systems to take down UASs, following a personal quadcopter crash on the White House lawn. Meanwhile, lawmakers might debate the UAS security issue this fall, when it takes up the next FAA funding bill. New York Sen. Charles Schumer said Wednesday he will propose an amendment to require UAS makers to equip the devices with “geo-fencing” technology, according to a CBS/Associated Press report. This would prevent the vehicles from flying into restricted areas and near airports. Some unmanned systems, such as those made by DJI, already have firmware that uses GPS positioning to avoid restricted areas.