The commercialization of small drones resulted in drone’s swift entrance into many different day to day applications. From photography, inspection and surveillance, to military uses, search and rescue, first aid delivery and so on, UAVs have made their place in several industries. But as their use is becoming more and more common, their dangers must also be accounted for. Photography is among the most common uses and usually, these drones can be seen flying above people on the ground. A malfunctioning heavy weight drone can easily damage and cause head injury but can a light weight commercial drone do the same? (Levin, 2017)
Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership led a study to understand the effects of a commercial drone falling on head or crashing into one’s head. Dummy victims were installed with different sensors to measure the blow cause by the impact of drones from different heights and angles. Different models of drones from different manufacturers were included in the study to ensure a diversified sampling. It was found that, the most commonly available light weight plastic quad-copter weighing about 2.6 pounds has only about 5% chances of cause a head injury. However, it was also concluded that the risk of head injury significantly increased as the weight or mass of the drone was increased and since Federal Aviation Administration considers drones weighing as much as 55 pounds under small drone category, it was highly recommended that, regulations should be made and enforced to restrict use of such heavy weight drones above people (UAS Vision, 2017).
Since, most of the commercial drones weight around 2.6 pounds, it was concluded that, the risk of head injury is very low and it is safe to use such drones above people. But since, the risk of injury increase to 70% when the weight was increased to 24 pounds, it was suggested to define a different category of drones which are allowed to be flown over people and others shall be restricted.
UAS Vision (2017). Expect Small Consumer Drones Unlikely to Cause Head Injury. Portland Press Herald. Available from: http://www.uasvision.com/2017/09/19/small-consumer-drones-unlikely-to-cause-head-injury/ [Accessed On: 25 September 2017]
Levin, Alan (2017). Small Consumer Drones Unlikely to Cause Head Injury, Study Says. Available from: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-15/small-consumer-drones-unlikely-to-cause-head-injury-study-says [Accessed On: 25 September 2017]