Senator urges government research to counter rogue drones

The Department of Transportation should look into ways to protect sensitive areas like airports, Warner says

The U.S. Department of Transportation should begin to research technologies to combat "rogue" drone flights around sensitive areas like the White House and airports, a senator has recommended.

The U.S. government, working with private companies, needs to develop counter-drone technologies to defend sensitive airspaces, Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said Monday in a letter to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

Warner, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, raised concerns about drones being used in crimes or potential attacks. A camera-equipped drone carrying a bottle marked with the radioactive symbol was discovered on the roof of the Japanese prime minister's office in central Tokyo in April, he noted in a press release.

The government shouldn't "overly restrict appropriate" uses of drones, also called unmanned aircraft systems, or UASes, Warner wrote.

But after high-profile drone mishaps in recent months, including a drone landing on the White House lawn in January, "we all have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that this is done in a safe way," Warner wrote. "While the vast majority of UAS operate safely, a series of high-profile incidents over the last year have shown that it is also necessary to develop rapidly technologies that can ensure the safe operation of drones around sensitive areas."

Warner's letter didn't advocate for a specific counter-drone technology, but he called for the Department of Transportation to consider a drone mitigation pilot project at a U.S. airport. The Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at Virginia Tech, a Federal Aviation Administration drone test site, could help develop counter-drone technology standards, he wrote.

A pilot project "could provide a blueprint for U.S. airports to establish protocols to protect airports against both innocuous recreational UAS mishaps as well as more nefarious incursions," Warner added.

While Warner didn't point to a specific counter-drone technology, he suggested an ideal mitigation technique would not interfere with existing operations at airports, would be able to geo-locate both the drone and the ground controller and would not affect GPS or Wi-Fi signals.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags regulationroboticsU.S. SenateU.S. Department of TransportationAnthony FoxxMark Warner

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?