TSA Tests Drone Detection Technology at LAX

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun testing technology to detect, track and identify (DTI) drones entering restricted air space around Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or unmanned aircraft systems (UAVs / UASs), pose a transportation security threat when flown into restricted airspaces.

To combat this potential, TSA is conducting a UAS Test Bed Program to develop effective DTI technology. LAX is now the second airport to join the testing programme alongside Miami International Airport.

LAX Drone Detection
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard speaks at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard said:

“As Chairwoman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the TSA budget, I was pleased by the selection of LAX as the second domestic airport to host the UAS detection technology test bed.

“Combined with the first test bed in Miami, this programme will allow TSA to validate the effectiveness of UAS detection technology in real-world, aviation environments. While there are many beneficial uses for drones in our society, it is becoming far too common that drones are sighted near airports, which presents significant security risks and unnecessary disruptions to the traveling public.”

LAX was selected as a testing site for the latest UAV detection technology due to the airport’s diverse operations, high passenger volumes and frequency of drone activity.

Since 2021, approximately 90 visual sightings and 5,200 technical detections have been detected within three miles of LAX.

DTI technology uses radio frequency waves, electro-optical, radar, acoustic, and thermal imaging to identify the precise location of an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Justin Erbacci, Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles World Airports said:

“LAX has a long history of leading innovation through pilot programmes and partnerships with the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security, and our latest collaboration to detect unauthorised drone activity near airports is another leap forward to further enhance the safety of airports across the nation. As a TSA innovation partner, LAX is proud to support emerging technology that is creating a safer, more secure and highly efficient airport for the traveling public.”

The LAX test bed is federally funded and aims to determine effective and suitable technologies that can be used in an operational airport.

Data collected at LAX will help TSA expand the rollout of such technology to other airports in the future.

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