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June 2, 2016

British anti-drone ray chosen for US trial

News: Trials to be conducted at US airports selected by the FAA.

By CBR Staff Writer

An Anti-UAV Defence System (Auds) developed by UK companies has been cleared by the US aviation authority for trials.

Enterprise Control Systems, Blighter Surveillance Systems and Chess Dynamics developed the system which can block the signaling systems of small drones after identifying the unwanted ones.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is ramping up efforts to obtain technology capable of detecting small, unmanned aerial vehicles near airports.

The defence system developed by the three British firms can makes drones "unresponsive" by jamming signals sent by their operators, the BBC reported.

A thermal imaging camera included in the system enables the operator to target the unwanted drone before blocking the signals to drone.

FAA senior adviser Marke "Hoot" Gibson said: "Sometimes people fly drones in an unsafe manner.

"Government and industry share responsibility for keeping the skies safe, and we’re pleased these three companies have taken on this important challenge."

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The FAA will test the capability of the defence system at airports chosen by it. Two US-based firms – Gryphon Sensors and Sensofusion – will also participate in the trial program.

In May, the FAA said that it had received numerous reports from pilots and residents about drones around some of the nation’s busiest airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York.

Gibson said: "We face many difficult challenges as we integrate rapidly evolving unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) technology into our complex and highly regulated airspace."

Beginning May 2, the FAA conducted trials at JFK airport to assess the effectiveness of a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) UAS detection system in a commercial airport environment.

It said that five different rotorcraft and fixed wing UAS participated in the evaluations, and about 40 separate tests took place.

In April, a drone was said to have hit a plane that was about to land at Heathrow Airport, London, according to the Metropolitan Police.

The incident at the UK airport highlights the growing need for regulation over the operation of drones, as they could have a potential harmful impact if they are flown in restricted areas.

The British Airways flight, with 132 passengers and five crew members on board, was on a flight from Geneva when the plane was hit by a drone just prior before landing at the London airport.

Under the existing rules in the UK, flying a drone close to an airport is punishable with imprisonment of up to five years. The rules also do not allow flying drones above 400ft (122m) or near buildings and crowds of people.

In February this year, Airline pilots had called for urgent action on drones after four separate near miss incidents at UK airports.

The UK Airprox Board (UKAB) had provided details of a series of incidents involving drones, of which four were considered to be the most serious cases belonging to category A where a severe risk of collision happens.

Recently, the US government launched a compulsory registration scheme for drones in order to identify the owner in case of accidents.

In a bid to avoid flying drones in restricted areas, US officials may make it compulsory for owners to run geo-fencing software in drones.

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