Drone detection technology is being trialled at Auckland Airport.
Integrating drones safely into New Zealand airspace is a top priority for Airways and detection systems are one of the building blocks that will support a future Unmanned Aerial Traffic Management (UTM) system.
Unauthorised airspace incursions by drones are becoming an increasing concern and we are recording on average two of these incursions every week.
We are trialling two systems over six months at Auckland Airport. Both are radar based systems capable of detecting drones at varying distances from 5km to 10km around the airport and up to 15,000ft. The detection area covers the 23L approach into Auckland.
These are not live trials and the data is not being fed into our air traffic control system. The data gathered is being recorded and assessed to give a comparison of the capabilities of the systems.
The trials are due to conclude in June 2019.
Over the past year we have made some leaps towards the development of a nationwide UTM system and we expect to be making further announcements in the new year about the direction this will take. Our current tool for drone users to register and log flight is airshare.co.nz. The site also has more than 10,000 commercial and recreational pilots logging upwards of 600 flights weekly.