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Military To Test Urban Drone Tracking System In San Diego, National City This Week

Sand Diego Fire & Rescue test new drone. August 10,2018

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Above: Sand Diego Fire & Rescue test new drone. August 10,2018

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced Monday that it will test an unmanned aircraft tracking system throughout the week in San Diego and National City.

Aired: October 23, 2019 | Transcript

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced Monday that it will test an unmanned aircraft tracking system throughout the week in San Diego and National City.

Video: San Diego Proving Ground For New Military Drone Program

Reported by Steve Walsh , Video by Matthew Bowler

The test period, starting Monday and continuing through Friday, will focus on a potential drone tracking system for large cities, which present tracking challenges because of tall buildings. The test will involve sensors placed on two tethered aerostat balloons roughly 500 feet above ground level and optical sensors on hovering drones and building tops.

"While DARPA's focus is on protecting U.S. troops from drone attacks in urban settings overseas, the system under development could ultimately help protect U.S. metropolitan areas from potential drone-enabled terrorist threats," the agency said in a statement.

DARPA will use about a dozen commercial drones to simulate the use of unauthorized drones flying in urban areas. The installed sensors are intended to differentiate small drones from buildings, vehicles and animals that may be in the background. The drones will also not record or store data during their flights.

All drone flights during the testing period are coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration to avoid conflict with military and civilian air traffic. The drones will be flown by FAA-certified pilots throughout the week.

Listen to this story by Steve Walsh.

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