Weaponized Drones a Concern at Presidential Inauguration

Drones are never allowed in Washington, D.C., but the FAA and Secret Service have made it clear that drones are banned from today's presidential inauguration.

Washington, DC was designated a no-fly zone after the September 11 terrorist attacks, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently reminded folks who are attending today’s presidential inauguration to leave their drones at home.

During the inauguration, all drones will be prohibited within a 30 nautical mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), including the National Mall, U.S. Capitol and the White House.

The FAA has allowed some drone flights outside the district after it created a national drone registration system in Dec. 2015, but weaponized drones, vehicle attacks, active shooters and thousands of protesters are just a few of the concerns for the Secret Service.

According to CNN, the cost of security measures for the inauguration and surrounding events is expected to exceed $100 million. Over 2.7 square miles in Washington will be closed to traffic.

Individuals flying a drone in D.C. could earn you a fine of $1,414, while a company flying a drone could be fined $32,140.

The Secret Service said Thursday there were no specific or credible threats targeting the events. The Secret Service also said it does have anti-drone technology at its disposal to neutralize drones, if needed. The Secret Service, of course, wouldn’t divulge any details on the technology it’s using, but Las Vegas police used Dedrone’s DroneTracker system to scan the surrounding airspace for unauthorized drones during the final presidential debate.

The DronTracker system uses visual, acoustic and radio frequency sensors to locate unwanted drones and reports results in real time to a nearby security operations center. DroneTracker in June 2016 added a built-in jammer that can automatically repel drones. As soon as an unauthorized drone is detected,  DroneTracker transmits electromagnetic waves that interfere with the radio signal between the drone and its controller.

DroneShield is another company that offers anti-drone technology. After a drone is detected using microphones, an agent fires a DroneShield gun at the drone, sending radio waves that interrupt the signal between the drone and its pilot.

Drones are also temporary banned around Trump Towers, home to the president-elect’s New York City penthouse and business headquarters. Drones were barred near the building days after he was elected on Nov. 15, 2016 until the day after the inauguration.




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