Photograph by Dominique Faget — AFP/Getty Images

The Mitre Challenge wants engineers to come up with new ways to detect, identify, and stop unauthorized unmanned aerial systems.

By Barb Darrow
November 13, 2015

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past year it’s that people love their drones. Make that two things: The drones people love can pose a big security risk if they get too close to, say, the White House, the Pentagon, sports arenas, airports, or other sensitive locations.

That’s why Mitre, a nonprofit think tank for U.S. government agencies, is offering prizes totaling $100,000 to whoever comes up with the best way to find unauthorized drones (sometimes called unmanned aerial vehicles) weighing less than 5 lbs., and stop them if necessary.

Here’s part of the company’s statement explaining “The MITRE Challenge:”

We are looking for a wide range of ideas, from those that are fully developed and ready to deploy to those that are in early development but show promise. Participation is encouraged by individual entrepreneurs, students, and teams from small and large companies.

Details are here but to compete, participants must get documentation of their proposed approach in by Feb. 7, 2016. The best overall system for identifying and stopping drones will get $60,000, the best detection-only system will get $20,000, and the best interdiction-only system another $20,000. One entrant could conceivably sweep the prizes, however.

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