Super Bowl: With modern radar technology and safety net against drones
Today in the US is the 53rd Super Bowl, the sports highlight of 2019. With drone activity increasingly making headlines, US authorities want to take all precautions to avoid any incidents at such a major event. It was just in December that an unknown drone pilot brought Gatwick Airport near London to a standstill for several days the week before Christmas, causing enormous economic damage.
Drones are a risk factor and a threat to safety, particularly at mass events. The FBI has therefore already taken the precautionary measure of confiscating drones in the immediate vicinity of the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta, and has to date taken a total of six for safekeeping. How exactly this was done was not publicly disclosed.
A temporary no-fly zone within a radius of one nautical mile and a height of 1,000 feet has also already been established, and on game day this zone will extend to the equivalent of 30 nautical miles and a height of 17,999 feet.
A violation of this ban would not only be expensive for drone pilots, but, in addition to fines of more than $20,000, could also carry a prison sentence. The FBI and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration of the US) will be monitoring the skies over the stadium with help from Echodyne, a start-up co-funded by Bill Gates using new radar technology that can distinguish between drones and other small flying objects, such as birds.
Another company, Fortem Technologies, will also be deployed during the Super Bowl. With its Hexacopter drone it can track down other drones and, with the help of an ejected net, it can catch and intercept them – with permission from the authorities, of course.
Is it still unclear if the Super Bowl will be played under a closed or open stadium roof, as the weather will be the deciding factor. But with all of these arrangements, hopefully the Super Bowl will be a major sports event without any drone headlines.