3D radar to track drones in Madison & Oneida Counties

The corridor to test Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Central New York is beginning to take shape after Madison County lawmakers gave preliminary approval to the installation of a radar system on their property.

At a meeting of the Madison County Criminal Justice, Public Safety and Emergency Communications Committee Thursday, David Whitaker of Gryphon Sensors expressed his companies desire to install a 3-D Air Surveillance Radar on top of the county office building.

"It's intended to pick up low altitude small drones," said Whitaker. The 3D Air Surveillance Radar will not only be able to detect the drones used in testing but anything else that goes up in the air.

Gryphon Sensors works to provide "the most sophisticated systems to detect, track and identify low-altitude, small unmanned aircraft systems, birds and other hard-to-detect airborne traffic," according to its website.

In November it was present as Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state would invest $30 million to create a 50-mile flight traffic management system between Syracuse and Griffiss international airport in Rome.

With a combination of investment funds and state funds, the radars are being installed across the region, according to Whitaker. The goal is to effectively fly drones out of visual sight.

Lawmakers say they're interested in testing that could eventually lead to easier railway, tower and power line inspections.

The testing could begin by early summer.

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