Thu, Jul 11, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Airport systems planned to foil UAVs in no-fly area

TECHNOLOGY:At the Civil Aeronautics Administration, 15 firms showed how their systems can detect intruding drones and disrupt their operations, or destroy them

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

The government plans by the end of this year to introduce systems at some airports for preventing uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) from entering the nation’s no-fly zones, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said on Tuesday.

At the agency’s headquarters in Taipei on Tuesday, 15 companies demonstrated how their technology can detect intruding drones and disrupt their operations, or destroy them.

The first step of the government’s countermeasures against illegal UAV activity is to have a zone-defense mechanism, Agency Air Operation and Management Unit Director Chu Kuan-wen (朱冠文) said.

Staff at airport terminals, the Aviation Police Bureau, local police departments and national security agencies are joining to counter the entry of drones into restricted areas, Chu said.

Interagency cooperation is necessary as there is about 400km2 of restricted or banned airspace and it is impossible to rely solely on airport staff and the Aviation Police Bureau to monitor such a big area, she said.

The second step of the government’s countermeasures is to employ an advanced system to detect and thwart drones from entering the no-fly zones, Chu said.

On detecting a drone, the system would activate some type of interference, causing the drone to leave the zone before it could disrupt airport operations, she said.

Taiwan saw its highest number of drone intrusions in 2016, she added.

Although there is so far no timeline or budget set for acquiring a system, the agency said that Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) would be the first to have a system.

The Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法) has new regulations on drone use, which are to take effect on March 31 next year, Flight Standards Division Director Clark Lin (林俊良) said.

The regulations also allow the administration of examinations for drone operators, which are to start in the middle of next month, along with drone inspections, Lin said.

Central government agencies would have priority in taking the operator examinations and having their drones inspected, Lin added.

The agency estimates that about 2,500 drone operators would sit the examinations, including operators from police and fire departments, as well as the Environmental Protection Administration, he said.

Under the act, UAV operators face fines of NT$300,000 to NT$1.5 million (US$9,628 to US$48,139) if found to have flown a drone within a certain distance from the outer boundary of an airport or airfield in a manner that could be considered hazardous to aviation safety.

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