What happens when drones hit people? We know it’s nothing good but until now there hasn’t been detailed scientific testing into exactly what injuries consumer quadcopters can cause to people on impact. A pork roast may be set to change that…
Researchers at Aalborg University in Denmark have set up a drone equivalent of car crash dummy tests, using a motorized catapult to launch a rotor blade into a pork roast and recording the damage it causes in slow motion.
“The objective is to examine the consequences when different kinds of drones hit people, animals, cars, glass panes and other obstacles they may encounter in their path. With a high-speed camera and precise measurements of both the speed and the force of the collision, it is possible to assess the damage that may occur,” ScienceDaily quotes the director of the drone lab, Anders la Cour-Harbo, as saying. “Particularly in the tests simulating collisions with people, it is necessary to do it absolutely right and verify that the results are reliable. The university is thus working with Aalborg University Hospital to conduct experiments that can help us better understand how dangerous drones really are.”
The catapult is just under 10ft (3m) long and can move a 1kg drone at up to 15m per second.
Notwithstanding plans to have eagles pluck drones from the sky, tangling with a drone by hand is fairly self-evidently a bad idea – they are, after all, carrying the equivalent of multiple blender blades. Testing is in early days, but safety certification can only be a good thing for drone operators and members of the public hoping for standards in the industry. Further testing will go into more detail about the exact nature of injuries likely to be caused, as well as allowing for testing with larger drone models, running at higher speeds.
And for some DJI Phantom 4 crash testing: