Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the formation of a new rulemaking committee to “develop recommendations for the expanded detection and mitigation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).” According to a statement from the FAA, the UAS Detection and Mitigation Systems Aviation Rulemaking Committee was created “to ensure that new technologies designed to detect and mitigate risks from errant or hostile UAS do not adversely impact the safe and efficient operation of the nation’s airspace.”
Made up of 58 leaders from the UAS, airport, and security sectors, the group begins its work this month. A final report is expected in early 2024.
The formation of this committee comes at a time of increased activity around uncrewed aviation security and risk management. For example, the FAA recently announced several agreements with counter-UAS firms to aid in airport safety:
- In March, the FAA awarded Rafael Systems Global Sustainment an Other Transaction Agreement to test its counter-UAS, drone detection, and neutralization system at Atlantic City International Airport.
- In April, the FAA announced its decision to work with counter-drone and airspace security technology firm WhiteFox Defense on its airport UAS detection and mitigation research program.
- And, earlier this month, it was announced that Dedrone was expanding the testing of its drone detection and identification systems at airports. Working the FAA, the airspace monitoring and security tech company plans to demonstrate its risk mitigation systems involving invasive aircraft.
These programs point to an increased understanding of the risks posed by uncrewed vehicles at airports and other highly sensitive environments, along with a greater willingness on the part of public officials and business leaders to develop new and more effective ways to reduce threats. However, many in the drone industry believe that more needs to be done.
In an editorial published earlier this year in Newsweek, Commercial UAV News guest contributor Dawn M. K. Zoldi called on public officials to grant law enforcement personnel better tools for addressing the threats posed by uncrewed vehicles. Zoldi highlighted the dangers unauthorized drones present at airports, large public events, and near large infrastructure assets.
“Given the extent of drone users in the U.S., including the careless, clueless, criminal, and potential combatant actors among them, federal agencies must remain enabled to protect us and local law enforcement must be allowed to take action as well,” she stated. “Congress needs to put the laws in place that will allow us to move forward.”
While legislative action may not be moving forward at the pace many in the industry would like, the creation of the FAA’s UAS Detection and Mitigation Systems Aviation Rulemaking Committee and its recent announcements on improving airport security systems show that progress is being made.
Watch Commercial UAV News for regular updates on counter-UAS, vehicle detection, and risk mitigation efforts.