The Federal Aviation Administration is testing technology to locate and track drones flying near airports.
According to a press release from the FAA, the organization will work with CACI International Inc. on technology to identify drones flying within 5 miles of an airport through their radio signals.
“The demand for recreational drones has exceeded anyone’s expectations,” FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker testified before the House Aviation Subcommittee Wednesday, explaining the dangers of drones being operated near airports. “This demand is driven in large part by individuals who are completely new to the aviation experience. They are not necessarily the traditional model airplane operators—members of local clubs who follow safety guidelines and rules.”
Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon told USA Today that he received a CACI briefing about the technology used in military applications, and he explained how the tracking would work. “They can pinpoint the operator,” he said. “They can force the drone to land, they can force it to go back to the operator. Or, in the case of hostiles, they can deliver something to the operator.”
Sightings of drones by pilots have more than doubled so far this year.