Growing Drone Industry Spawns a Growing Antidrone Industry

Radar, remote ID, and other tools can counter rogue drones 


3 min read
Photo: Press Association/AP
High-flying hazards: Drones can be a dangerous nuisances for airports.
Photo: Press Association/AP

Drone sightings at London’s Gatwick Airport disrupted operations there for three days last December, and in January, rumored sightings near Newark [N.J.] Liberty International Airport delayed incoming air traffic temporarily. These incidents highlighted a growing problem with small drones: Miscreants, or just clueless operators, can make real trouble by flying these machines where they’re not allowed.

Rogue drones have been a long-standing worry for regulators, who have pursued a wide array of ideas to address the issue. Now, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is preparing a new report on the matter. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, passed last October, called for a careful study of tools to counter drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and required the FAA to review its counter-UAS activities and report the results to Congress.

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Top Tech 2022: A Special Report

Preview two dozen exciting technical developments that are in the pipeline for the coming year

1 min read
Photo of the lower part of a rocket in an engineering bay.

NASA’s Space Launch System will carry Orion to the moon.

Frank Michaux/NASA

At the start of each year, IEEE Spectrum attempts to predict the future. It can be tricky, but we do our best, filling the January issue with a couple of dozen reports, short and long, about developments the editors expect to make news in the coming year.

This isn’t hard to do when the project has been in the works for a long time and is progressing on schedule—the coming first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, for example. For other stories, we must go farther out on a limb. A case in point: the description of a hardware wallet for Bitcoin that the company formerly known as Square (which recently changed its name to Block) is developing but won’t officially comment on. One thing we can predict with confidence, though, is that Spectrum readers, familiar with the vicissitudes of technical development work, will understand if some of these projects don’t, in fact, pan out. That’s still okay.

Engineering, like life, is as much about the journey as the destination.

See all stories from our Top Tech 2022 Special Report

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