The Federal Aviation Authority is still looking for the best way to take down rogue drones. The agency may have introduced new registration rules for quadcopters (signing up nearly 200,000 earlier this year), but that doesn't stop someone from being an idiot — especially near sensitive areas like airports. This week, the FAA said it had been conducting trials of a new drone-detection system built by the FBI, testing the technology at JFK airport in New York.
The FAA says it tested the system using "five different rotorcraft and fixed wing" aircraft at JFK from May 2nd. Forty separate tests took place, says the agency, with the trial building on earlier research conducted at Atlantic City International Airport.
We don't know how well the trials went
That's about all we know though. It's not clear how successful the trials were, or what the FBI's drone-detection system consists of. The FAA previously signed an agreement with a company to use tech that can "passively detect, identify, and track" drone operators by monitoring radio signals, but it's a busy market out there, and companies are employing everything from jammers to net-guns to eagles to take out quadcopters.
Figuring out exactly how much of a threat drones are to commercial flights is also a tricky issue. Although reports from pilots of drones flying near airports and planes have gone up, some have suggested that at least part of this increase is due to objects being misidentified as drones. Last month, reports of a collision between a drone and an airplane in the UK turned out not to be true, with officials suggesting the object in question "may even have been a plastic bag." That's not to say that drone's aren't a threat, but don't panic that the FAA's detection systems aren't ready just yet.