U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) recently called on the federal government to collaborate with the public and private sectors to develop technology to protect sensitive airspaces against unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly called drones.
A member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Warner sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, which said that although drones have remarkable potential for commercial and governmental uses they also have unique security challenges.
“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 like airports and high-profile locations like the White House, where an unmanned drone landed in January,” Warner wrote.
The White House incident was followed by international incidents involving drones, including one carrying radioactive sand that landed on the roof of the Japanese prime minister’s office.
Warner has long advocated for the testing and development of UAS technology.
“In this regard, I recommend that the Department consider a pilot project at an American airport to coordinate and interrelate UAS mitigation technology with an airport system to determine best practices,” Warner wrote. “This 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. As this is becoming such an important matter, I encourage you to personally take the lead in our federal government’s efforts to create a framework for the safe and appropriate usage of UAS.”