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D. How Airports May Benefit from a New Avionics System

Narrator:This is Science Today. New airplanes may someday be equipped with a control system that prevents aircraft from entering virtual no-fly zones around cities and other potential targets. Edward Lee, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, developed this avionics system, which is called "soft walls".

Lee: Ultimately to be effective this technique has to be prevalent in aircraft. It's not really necessary for all aircraft to be equipped with this however, because one can phase in a technique like this.

Narrator: Lee says once newer planes have "soft walls" technology, a first phase could be prioritizing airports.

Lee: That might be a first step solution that would protect certain critical infrastructure and it of course doesn't prevent a hijacked aircraft from entering the Washington, D.C. airspace, but the air traffic control system would be aware of an airplane without "soft walls" entering the space long in advance to be able to respond.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.