Exclusive: Dubai develops new tech to detect drone threats to airport

DCAA says it will live test spectrum analysing technology within three months
Exclusive: Dubai develops new tech to detect drone threats to airport
DCAA says it will live test spectrum analysing technology within three months
By Parag Deulgaonkar
Thu 13 Apr 2017 08:20 AM

The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) will test its indigenously built technology that can track threats of rogue drones and pinpoint their location in the next three months, a senior government official has said.

In 2016, Dubai International Airport was shut for more than an hour after an inbound airplane spotted drone activity near the airport and immediately communicated that to air traffic control. A police helicopter was scrambled to try to find any activity around the airport, but nothing was discovered.

“The next level of technology is spectrum analysing, which we are self-developing in the emirate with another company. The technology will be able to determine a drone that has the permission to fly and a rogue drone which is causing all the issue such as airspace disruptions,” Michael Rudolph, head of airspace safety, aviation safety and environment sector, DCAA, told Arabian Business.

“With the spectrum analyser, we will be able to identify in a certain parameter from the airport or otherwise a state asset whether there is a threat, what the threat is and where it is being operated from.”

Rudolph revealed that the DCAA was also working on signing memorandum of understandings with the Department of Economic Development (DED) and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) to ensure the holding companies of most of the retail outlets in the country adhere to Dubai’s new aviation safety law.

“It is the DED and the DMCC that register these holding companies of the retail outlets. And we are saying to them, ‘please help us’,” he said, adding the MoUs are expected to be signed by Ramadan.

The official also said the authority was putting in regulations to restrict import of drones.

“When someone purchases a drone online, we do ask them for a customs release letter which is issued only after critical and careful scrutiny of the drone,” Rudolph said.

On Tuesday, the DCAA said it was making it mandatory for all drone operators to apply for a license and undergo a training programme that will help them to operate an unmanned aerial vehicle.

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