The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has selected Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to test technology to detect, track, and identify (DTI) drones that are encroaching on restricted airspace.
According to a TSA press release, Congress is funding the DTI test bed at LAX, due to begin testing in late Summer 2021. This is the second site where DTI technology will be tested. TSA announced last week that similar technology is due to be tested at Miami International Airport beginning in early July.
TSA selected LAX as an UAS DTI test bed due to its diverse aviation operations, large number of enplanements, frequency of UAS activity, and high passenger volume. This project will utilize a range of security and surveillance technologies including radar, thermal imaging, and artificial intelligence.
Throughout the LAX test bed process, equipment will be tested and evaluated, and the data collected will be shared with the interagency and industry stakeholders for further evaluation and assessment. The information and data collected from the test will assist with finding effective solutions that mitigate the risks that unauthorized UAS operations pose to the nation’s transportation system.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), can pose a threat to transportation security when flown too close to certain aviation, surface, or related transportation venues. Small UAS are used for a wide range of commercial and recreational purposes. While many are equipped with Global Positioning System software that prevents their use in restricted locations, there are many operators who do not follow safety restrictions and consequently pose a security and safety risk to individuals, infrastructure, and airplanes.
“The selection of LAX as a strategic location to test UAS detection technologies underscores the close working and strategic relationship between TSA and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA),” said TSA Federal Security Director for LAX Boyd K. Jeffries. “We are confident that data and information collected here will ultimately benefit and help secure the entire transportation network from the threats that UAS in unauthorized areas present.”
“The UAS threat to airports has increased exponentially over the last several years. That is why it is vital we assess the effectiveness of UAS DTI technologies in live airport environments,” said TSA UAS Capability Manager Jim Bamberger. “We are thrilled to partner with LAX on such a mission critical project that will pave the way for future technology assessments and help protect airports nationwide against UAS threats.”
In support of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) role in UAS security, TSA is collaborating with airport, local law enforcement and interagency partners including the DHS Science & Technology Directorate. Together they will test the effectiveness of certain DTI technologies against threats to aviation, surface, and related transportation domains. The technologies will be evaluated in laboratory and operational field environments.
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