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Drones Flying Near Airports, Infrastructure Prompt U.S. Action

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A recreational drone that landed on the White House South Lawn in 2015.

Regulators, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies try to figure out who is flying drones for fun, and who might have malicious intent.

Credit: U.S. Secret Service/Reuters

With consumer drone use surging in the airspace above critical sites like airports, federal agencies are acting to address potential public safety and national security issues.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are developing a national air traffic control system for low-flying drones.

Federal officials say tracking slow-moving drones is difficult, as is identifying their controllers.

The FAA/NASA project aims to track drones that weigh less than 55 pounds and fly at altitudes below 400 feet, in order to boost safety and predictability, while also eliminating those with ill intent.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is testing technologies to spot small consumer drones, and the Pentagon is investigating systems to bring them down.

From The Wall Street Journal
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