Latest in Culture

Image credit: Artist's concept/DARPA

DARPA wants an 'Aerial Dragnet' to monitor urban drone traffic

Somebody has to keep an eye on all these UAVs.
906 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Artist's concept/DARPA

Conventional air traffic might be tightly controlled and monitored, but even with the new FAA regulations, drones and other unmanned aerial systems are mostly operating without any government oversight. And that doesn't sit well with the folks at the Pentagon, who fear that easy access to affordable drones could make them easily adaptable for terrorist or military purposes. To combat this potential threat, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, announced this week an "Aerial Dragnet" program that aims to map all small drone activity in urban settings.

"Commercial websites currently exist that display in real time the tracks of relatively high and fast aircraft—from small general aviation planes to large airliners—all overlaid on geographical maps as they fly around the country and the world," DARPA's program manager Jeff Krolik said. "We want a similar capability for identifying and tracking slower, low-flying unmanned aerial systems, particularly in urban environments."

While the FAA is using much more consumer-friendly burrito delivery tests to build out a method of low-altitude air traffic control, DARPA envisions a system that can be used by the military in urban settings overseas or for homeland security applications in the US. DARPA's plan would include a network of surveillance nodes that can track slow, low-flying drones without the need for a direct line of sight. Those nodes could be anything from a fixed instrument to a tethered or "long endurance" drone and the whole thing is meant to be cost-effective and highly scalable for larger coverage areas.

While the agency doesn't have a plan for implementing this dragnet just yet, the program is seeking proposals from teams with "expertise in sensors, signal processing, and networked autonomy." Full details about the project goals have been posted to FedBizOps and there is a Proposers Day scheduled for September 26th, 2016 in Arlington, Virginia.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
906 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

View
T-Mobile’s Sprint merger is opposed by 18 state attorneys general

T-Mobile’s Sprint merger is opposed by 18 state attorneys general

View
Microsoft plans to bring broadband to 9 million more Americans

Microsoft plans to bring broadband to 9 million more Americans

View
California governor signs labor law meant to fix the gig economy

California governor signs labor law meant to fix the gig economy

View
India effectively bans e-cigarettes

India effectively bans e-cigarettes

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr