Miami Int'l Airport Using Tech Aimed at Stopping Drones From Coming Near Flights

The equipment will be tested to see if it can locate drones flying into the airspace, a place that’s off limits

NBC Universal, Inc.

Drones and airplanes can be a dangerous mix and now Miami is the focus of the effort to make sure there’s no trouble on your flight.

Thursday, the TSA announced that Miami International Airport will be the only airport in the country testing technology to locate drones if there near airports - and find who is at the controls. 

This year, more than 10 million passengers have already flown in or out of Miami International with the airport surging as South Florida emerges from the pandemic.

One pesky worry in the skies are those operating drones flying where they shouldn’t be.

“The disruptions that can take place when a drone is in and around the airport. Presently, with that technology the airspace would be shut down until it ‘s safe for commercial to fly,” TSA acting director Darby LaJoye said exclusively to NBC 6.

Darby came to South Florida to announce a new pilot program aimed at preventing drone collisions with aircraft.

“We knew that Miami would be the great place for us to do our very first test bed with some of our counter UAS technology,” LaJoye said.

The equipment will be tested to see if it can locate drones flying into the airspace at MIA, a place that’s off limits.  

“Having the ability for us to detect if first off, then monitor, and track it is a way for us to safely to keep the airspace open if we have a drone because the number of drone incidents is on the rise. The number of evasive actions our pilots are taking is also on the rise,” LaJoye said.

The FAA says it getting more than 100 sightings of drones in places where they shouldn’t be each month. The list of incidents includes pilots saying they moved to get out of the way.  

“Drones and airplanes don’t mix," federal security director Dan Ronan said. "So, we need to make sure a good system in place nationwide so that when we have drone that could potentially interfere with an aircraft we have advanced notice so we can take action.”

The high tech electronics uses radar, thermal imaging and even artificial intelligence to find drones. The pilot program at Miami International Airport will last through the rest of the year.

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