Los Angeles airport to test new drone tracking technology

Los Angeles International Airport has been selected as the test site for new technology that can detect, track and identify (DTI) drones encroaching on restricted airspace.

The US Transport Security Administration (TSA) selected the airport thanks to its diverse aviation operations, large number of enplanements, frequency of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) activity and high passenger volume.

The new technology will use a range of security and surveillance technologies including radar, thermal imaging and artificial intelligence.

TSA federal security director for LAX Boyd K Jeffries said: “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).

“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.”

TSA UAS capability manager Jim Bamberger added: “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.

“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.”

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 help find effective solutions that mitigate the risks that unauthorised UAS operations pose to the US transportation system.