Dubai is all set to become the world’s first city to use tracking software to monitor operations of commercial drones in restricted airspace. This notification was issued from the officials over at Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA). DCAA will employ the use of the Exponent Portal software, a software that was publicly unveiled at a live demonstration at the World Aviation Safety Summit in Dubai on Monday, to track commercial drones in real time. The software actively monitors a drone’s location, speed and altitude. It is also equipped to view and record any material being collected the by drone’s camera. The only thing that is required is for the drone to be fitted with an external object that weight no more than 160 grams. DCAA’s Head of Aviation Regulation and Safety, Michael Rudolph said,
Beyond the issuance of a no-objection certificate, we are able to monitor the what the RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft system) operator is doing.. Should there by an transgressions, we are advised of that.
The Exponent Portal notifies the drone operator and DCAA as soon as the commercial drones goes outside the pre-determined area. Rudolph said,
At that time, we are able to give the operator a phone call. If we weren’t able to monitor this live, we would be able to recall the information at a later day, either to call the operator in and rap him on the knuckles or otherwise show him where the transgression has taken place … and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Commercial drones are gaining popularity at an exponential rate and thereby regulating the industry is preemptively is the right way to go about it. Various security incidents have occurred over the past few months regarding commercial drones, few of which are produced below:
- April 2016: A drone struck British Airways plane at Heathrow Airport
- March 2016: A drone came within 200 feet of a Lufthansa jet near Los Angeles International Airport on 18th March
- January 2015: Recreational drones forced the closure of Dubai airport for approximately 55 minutes after they came dangerously close to the flight path of commercial airliners