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FAA tests antidrone tech at Denver International Airport

The agency wants to find the best approach to keeping drones away from the airspace over airports.

Picture of a drone
Drones over airports: a serious threat to safety, says the FAA.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Random drones buzzing over airports. If you think that sounds like a terrible idea, then the Federal Aviation Administration agrees with you.

To find the best tools to keep drones from messing with your takeoffs and landings, the FAA is testing drone-detection technology at the Denver International Airport, the agency said Wednesday. It's one of six tests the agency will run in an 18-month program at various locations in the US.

"Unmanned Aircraft Systems that enter the protected airspace around airports can pose serious threats to safety," the agency wrote in a press release published Wednesday.

The FAA didn't give details on what the drone-detection technology involves. The agency is coordinating with other government authorities and industry partners to run the tests, and will use the data gathered to recommend standards for drone-spotting going forward.

"These standards will guide the selection of drone-detection systems for airports nationwide," the FAA said in its announcement.

The FAA has taken a wary approach to drones, requiring, since December 21, 2015, that all drones be registered with the agency. What's more, people who want to use small drones for commercial purposes must petition the FAA and hold a traditional pilot's license. Those regulations were eased slightly in June so that businesses could operate drones if the pilots had a remote pilot airman certificate instead.