As concerns rise about a security menace posed by rogue drone flights, U.S. government agencies are working with state and local police forces to develop high-tech systems to protect vulnerable sites, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Although the research aimed at tracking and disabling drones is at an early stage, there has been at least one field test.
Last New Year's Eve, New York police used a microwave-based system to try to track a commercially available drone at a packed Times Square and send it back to its operator, according to one source involved in the test.
The previously unreported test, which ran into difficulty because of interference from nearby media broadcasts, was part of the nationwide development effort that includes the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Defense Department, the source said.
The sources were not authorized to speak about the effort and declined to be identified.
Asked about the development of counter-drone-technology, the Department of Homeland Security said it "works side-by-side with our interagency partners" to develop solutions to address the unlawful use of drones. Officials with the Defense Department, FAA and New York Police Department declined to comment.
But the sources acknowledged that efforts to combat rogue drones have gained new urgency due to the sharp rise in drone use and a series of alarming incidents.