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European Research Project Examines Technologies to Protect Airports from Drones

Drone intrusions at airports regularly hit the headlines and airports are taking measures in the short term to mitigate these, from grounding aircraft when drones are detected to reducing speed of aircraft on approach in order to limit damage in the event of a collision. Drones can therefore have a significant impact on airport operations.

Research and development is underway on a broad range of systems that are able to impede such so-called rogue-drone flights over non-authorized areas by detecting and neutralizing drones. While innovative, these solutions are not necessarily interoperable or customized with airports environments in mind.

The SESAR European research program is co-funding a two-year project examining innovative ways to protect airports from drone incursions. Partners in the ASPRID (Airport System PRotection from Intruding Drones) project, aim to develop a service-oriented operational concept and system architecture to protect airport operations from unwanted drones. To do so, the project will analyze aircraft and airport (runway and ground) operations to pinpoint possible vulnerabilities. With this, the project aims to identify possible technologies, procedures and regulations that could help better safeguard against drone incursions and/or can help them recover from any disruptions as quickly and as efficiently as possible. In doing so, ASPRID proposes a more integrated and coordinated approach to handling drone incursions.

The benefit of having an integrated approach to addressing drone incursions are manifold:

  • Increased airport operational and cost efficiency, by managing the operational flow and minimising the cost of disruptions in case of drone intrusions.
  • Enhanced safety and security, by increasing awareness about threats and preventing/mitigating their effects.
  • Enabling environmental and economy, fostering the safe and secure use of drones for airport services and arising new market opportunities related to drones and airport protection systems from drones.
  • Regulation: Supporting drone & U-space with the definition of characteristics for zones where drones are (not) allowed to fly under any circumstances or restrictions due to the risk for the airport in terms of safety and security.

ASPRID will be carried out by seven European entities from Spain, Italy and France. These entities are experts in the different sectors involved in the project: airports, research, innovation technologies, drone operations, IT, safety and security.

  • Aena SME SA
  • Aerospace Laboratory for Innovative components (ALI Scarl)
  • Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali (CIRA)
  • ENAIRE
  • Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)
  • Office National d’Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales (ONERA)
  • SoulSoftware SRL

This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

Read more at SESAR 

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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