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Drones are getting very popular for commercial and recreation purposes. This has resulted in an increase in near-misses with aircraft and infringements into no-fly zones.
Apart from that, these drones can be a serious security threat when misused by certain people. Drones can be used to carry dangerous payloads such as explosives, which can be deployed by terrorist to bomb public places, military installation and government offices.
According to The Shanghai Daily , a new anti-drone detection system has been introduced recently at the Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou to prevent drones from its flight path.
The “electronic fence” technology can cut signal connection between a drone and its remote controller when the unmanned aerial vehicle gets within 10 kilometers from the airport. The drone will be forced to return to its launch site.
The measure comes after an online video clip in January showed a drone flying close to an aircraft about to land at the airport.
From June 1, 2017 a new regulation requires owners of any drone weighing over 250 grams to be registered under the real name of the operator.
While other airports are still testing or considering anti-drone technology, the Xiaoshan International Airport is one step ahead in preventing collision of drones with aircrafts.
Towards the end of 2015, the Tokyo city police launched a drone squad to detect and capture any nuisance drones flown by the public.
The police will specially focus the drone squad around important buildings, including the prime minister’s office. Should a suspicious unmanned aerial vehicle be detected, its operator will be warned via loudspeakers on the ground. If he / she fail to respond, police will launch a team of drones, armed with nets, to capture the device and bring it back down to the ground.
In the Unites States, the The Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Homeland Security conducted drone detection technology testing at the Denver Airport in November last year. The technology used electronic signature, sound, radar and high-powered optical systems to detect the drones.
Each month, the FAA receives more than 100 complaints from pilots about drones flying close to their flight path. Many drones are small and are evolving to include autonomous capabilities that may not emit detectable signals, which pilots could pick up on. The FAA is looking for a technology that can respond quickly to drones that could travel very close to commercial airplanes.
In December, 2015 the FAA made it compulsory for all drone owners in the US to register their drones with a central database. However, the decision was overturned by the US court of appeals in Washington, on May 19, 2017 which declared that enforcing registration for drones less than 55 lbs is unlawful.
Many countries around the world are also considering implementing anti-drone detection systems, drone flying training and mandatory drone registration, to control and regulate the booming drone industry.
Dubai which is the busiest airport in the world is also beset by the drone problem. In 2016, Dubai handled 83.6 million international passengers.
Dubai Airports, which also oversees Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport, is conducting trials to create a tracking system to detect the real-time location of any nearby drone and the radio frequency on which it is being operated.
Operations at Dubai’s main airport, the world’s busiest for international passengers, were halted for an hour last week, delaying 40 flights. It was the third time they had been temporarily stopped in four months because of drones.