AT&T is currently working with NASA to develop an Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management program that will enable agencies across the country to monitor drone activity.
According to a statement released by AT&T, this program is supposed to assist drone operators in monitoring flight paths and navigating drones as well as using them for surveillance. The company says that its main goal is to protect against cyber attacks on drones.
Both drones used commercially and those used by government agencies have vulnerabilities that expose the aircraft to hackers who may want to divert the flight path or render the device unusable. AT&T is concerned that hackers could use a drone connected to wireless internet to gain access to the network of the agency operating the drone.
As Vocativ reports:
In September, DARPA announced the Aerial Dragnet program, requesting proposals for technology that would allow the government to keep track of all objects flying below 1,000 feet. The agency initially envisioned their system relying on a network of tower- or drone-mounted “surveillance nodes” scattered throughout cities. But AT&T’s initiative shows the company wants to have a foothold in the burgeoning drone industry.
“Working with NASA and others, we are designing the management system for a new frontier in aviation,” said Mike Leff, vice president of civilian agencies at AT&T. “Drones are already used in agriculture, public safety, construction, utilities, real estate, and TV. This research can help support the commercial and private use of drones nationwide.”
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