Miami International Airport (MIA) will be the first in the country to test new technology to detect drones in its vicinity to avoid collisions with aircraft on takeoff or landing.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that this new technological tool uses radar, thermal imaging, and artificial intelligence to locate drones before they can enter airport airspace. This would avoid collisions or unexpected closures.
Until the end of the year, this test will be carried out at MIA, through which some 10 million passengers have passed so far in 2021, after a 2020 with little traffic due to COVID-19.
TSA federal security director Daniel Ronan stressed in a statement that “the UAS threat to airports has increased exponentially over the last several years.”
“It is vital we begin assessing the effectiveness of UAS DTI technologies in live airport environments,” said Jim Bamberger, who is responsible at TSA for strategies to deal with drones.
Bamberger said the pilot project to be conducted in Miami “will pave the way for future technology assessments and help protect airports nationwide against UAS threats.”
Although drones and other flying devices have a program with satellite geolocation that prevents their use in restricted places, some operators do not use it.
The information and data gathered from the test will help find effective solutions to mitigate the risks posed by unauthorized drone operations to the air transportation system.
Drones are not the only threats to aircraft arriving and departing from Miami.
Last March, a 61-year-old Cuban-born man was arrested and charged for pointing a laser beam at aircraft cockpits during takeoff or landing at Miami International Airport.
Police were monitoring the neighborhood near the airport after several airlines complained that a green laser beam was hindering pilots’ visibility in the middle of takeoff or landing maneuvers.
In 2020, MIA closed with a cargo volume of 2.32 million tons, 57,382 more than the previous year, and a record 59,000 cargo-only flights, which was nearly 8,000 more flights than in 2019.
The year 2020 was probably not as good in terms of passenger traffic due to mobility restrictions due to the pandemic, although official figures are still lacking.
In 2019, it achieved a record of 45.9 million passengers, almost a million more than the previous year, and revalidated its position among the top 10 airports in the United States.