Gatwick: New technology 'could prevent airport drone chaos'

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Image caption,
Flights into Gatwick were badly disrupted by the drone incident

Scientists believe they have devised a system to prevent drones disrupting major airports.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge say a combination of statistical techniques and radar data makes it possible to forecast whether a drone intends to enter restricted airspace.

Airports can then focus their responses.

An alert at Gatwick Airport in December 2018 saw about 1,000 flights disrupted.

Dr Bashar Ahmad, who carried out the research at the University of Cambridge's Department of Engineering, said: "While we don't fully know what happened at Gatwick, the incident highlighted the potential risk drones can pose to the public if they are misused, whether that's done maliciously or completely innocently.

"It's crucial for future drone surveillance systems to have predictive capabilities for revealing, as early as possible, a drone with malicious intent or anomalous behaviour."

No-one has ever been prosecuted over the Gatwick incident, which saw the Christmas plans of about 140,000 passengers being affected.

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