The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun its initial test of technologies at Miami International Airport that will detect, track, and identify (DTI) drones entering restricted airspace. Drones, also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), pose a threat to aviation security when flown into certain restricted airspaces. TSA chose MIA as the first UAS DTI testbed due to an ongoing perimeter intrusion technology pilot as well as the strong existing partnerships with the airport.
Drones and other UAS are used for a wide range of commercial and recreational purposes. While many are equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) software that prevents their use in restricted locations, there are many operators who do not follow rules and safety restrictions and consequently pose a security and safety risk to individuals, infrastructure and airplanes in the national airspace (NAS).
In support of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) role in UAS security, TSA is collaborating with airport, local law enforcement, and intra-agency partners including the DHS Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) to test the effectiveness of certain technologies that can detect, track and identify UAS threats in aviation, surface, and related transportation domains. The technologies will be evaluated in laboratory and operational field environments. During the test at MIA, TSA will review a range of security and surveillance technologies that are able to detect, track and identify UAS operations by radar, thermal imaging, and artificial intelligence.
Throughout the MIA 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.