The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday said it tested earlier this month the FBI’s unmanned aircraft system (UAS) detection technology at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, expanding its research into rogue drones around airports.

Phoenix 30 Quad Rotor Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Photo: UAV Solutions, Inc.
Quad Rotor Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Photo: UAV Solutions, Inc.

“We face many difficult challenges as we integrate rapidly evolving UAS technology into our complex and highly regulated airspace,” Marke “Hoot” Gibson, the agency’s senior adviser on UAS Integration, said in a statement. “This effort at JFK reflects everyone’s commitment to safety.”

The testing began on May 2 and included five different rotorcraft and fixed-wing UAS in about 40 tests.

In addition to the FAA and FBI, other agencies involved in the research included the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice, Queens District Attorney’s Office, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The FAA said that DHS and the FBI want to identify unauthorized UAS operators for law enforcement purposes, while the agency needs to provide a safe and efficient airport environment for manned and unmanned air traffic.

The FAA said the recent tests expanded on research done earlier this year at Atlantic City International Airport.

Congress has mandated that the FAA conduct research into detecting UAS in airport environments. The agency has received “numerous complaints” from pilots and residents about UAS operating around some of the country’s busiest airports, including JFK.