TSA Begins Drone DTI Testing at Miami International Airport

The Transportation Security Administration recently started initial tests of technologies at Miami International Airport that detect, track, and identify (DTI) drones entering restricted airspace.

[Above photo by Miami International Airport]

The agency said DTI technologies would help stop drones that pose a security and safety risk to individuals, infrastructure, and airplanes in the national airspace.

TSA noted it would share the data collected from its tests at Miami International Airport with other federal agencies and industry stakeholders for further evaluation and assessment.

TSA’s Jim Bamberger at podium. Photo by Miami International Airport.

The agency also expects its tests to help develop more “effective solutions” to mitigate the risks that unauthorized drones – also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems or UAS – pose to the nation’s transportation system.

“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,” noted Jim Bamberger, TSA’s counter-UAS capability manager, in a statement.

He added that this DTI testing with Miami International Airport is “a mission critical project” that “paves the way for future technology assessments and help[s] protect airports nationwide against UAS threats.”

State departments of transportation have long been involved with a variety of drone-related projects.

Photo by the Kansas DOT

For example, thee state DOTs – the Kansas Department of Transportation, North Dakota Department of Transportation, and North Carolina Department of Transportation – are participants in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new BEYOND program.

Launched in November 2020 and building on USDOT’s three-year long Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP), the BEYOND initiative seeks to continue tackling what the agency calls “drone integration challenges” within the nation’s airspace.

In particular, the NCDOT is testing the use of drones to conduct bridge inspections and make package deliveries between hard-to-reach locales.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently put two new final rules governing drone operations into effect on April 21: one requiring remote identification of drones, while the other allows operators of small drones to fly over people and at night under certain conditions.

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