NC State official says mystery drone swarms could spur remote ID rules

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — They’re taking off across the country.

We often see drones hundreds of feet in the air. Some are equipped with cutting-edge technology, including thermal cameras.

But the start of the new year brings concerns from people spotting mysterious swarms of drones up above, with reported sightings in states like Colorado and Nebraska.

In January, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tweeted they’re investigating the sightings in both states.

FAA officials said in part in a statement, “We have not determined the source of the reported drone flights.”

Tom Zajkowski works with a drone research group at North Carolina State University. The recent reports are leaving him with questions.

“Some of it is — are these really drones,” Zajkowski said. “No one has come forward and said, ‘Yes, this is us.’ Which almost adds to the anxiety. Is somebody out there hiding it from us?”

He said the technology for drone swarms is out there.

“You have these companies that operate a large software program, that operate thousands of drones,” he said. “They’re essentially doing something very similar to a fireworks display.”

Zajkowski believes there will be a push for a proposed rule by the FAA, that would require drones to be identifiable remotely.

Zajkowski said he hasn’t heard of any reports of similar cases happening here in North Carolina.

However, if you do see something similar to this, he recommends reaching out to your local law enforcement and the FAA.

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