FAA tests tech to spot illegal drone operators near airports

Drone in Flight

As the number of privately-owned UAVs have exploded here in the US, so too have incidents of hobbyist drones being flown too closely to airports. More than 100 incidents have been reported every month this year, up from a handful of occurrences in 2015, according to FAA deputy administrator, Michael Whitaker. To combat this trend, the Federal Aviation Administration is looking into technology that zeros in on scofflaw drone pilots by tracking their radio signals.

"One of the biggest challenges we're having is locating the operator," Whitaker said in a statement. To that end, the FAA inked a deal with CACI International Inc. this week to provide a solution that would "passively detect, identify, and track" UAV operator locations within 5 miles of an airport. Details are scarce on how, precisely, the system will work. However, CACI has been building radio-based intelligence systems for the Department of Defense and domestic intelligence agencies for years.

[Image Credit: Getty Images]