MIA chosen for TSA drone technology testing

The trials are set to help identify software that can detect unmanned aircraft systems entering restricted areas 

Miami International Airport (MIA) has been selected by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for the initial testing of technologies that will detect, track and identify (DTI) drones entering into restricted airspace.

The organisation chose the hub as the first unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) DTI testbed due to the intrusion technology pilot that is currently underway.

Drones are used for a wide variety of commercial and recreational purposes. Many are equipped with global positioning systems (GPS) that prevent usage in restricted zones. However, some do not follow these regulations and therefore pose a security and safety risk.

Miami International Airport
Photo MIA

“The UAS threat to airports has increased exponentially over the last several years, which is why it is vital we begin assessing the effectiveness of UAS DTI technologies in live airport environments. We are thrilled to partner with MIA on such a mission critical project that will pave the way for future technology assessments and help protect airports nationwide against UAS threats,” said Jim Bamberger, TSA counter-UAS capability manager.

To support the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts, TSA is collaborating with the airport, local law enforcement and other partners including DHS Science and Technology Directorate to test the effectiveness of specific technologies that are able to detect threats.

Security and surveillance software is also set to be reviewed to distinguish which are able to identify UAS by radar, thermal imaging and artificial intelligence.

Lester Sola, MIA director and CEO, added: "We are extremely proud to be chosen by TSA for this landmark test of drone detection technology, which will reap unprecedented security benefits for MIA and our sister airports across the country. We look forward to bolstering our strong partnership with TSA through this new initiative, as we continue to advance our shared priority of enhancing the safety and security of our passengers, employees and business partners."

All data collected will be shared with the interagency and stakeholders within the industry for further evaluation.