Coddington, Hicks & Danforth

How much harm can a drone do to a person on impact?

In April of 2018, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a new report on human collisions with drones. Although the FAA admits the figures on drone crashes with humans may be too early to fully predict, they did find data on how much damage a drone may cause when colliding with someone on the ground.

What follows are their findings. These are not the only injuries found, but they were the most common.

 

 

Most common injuries

The study narrowed down the injuries to three of the most common:

  • Cuts or lacerations, which include any impact that breaks the skin such as a propeller blade strike.
  • "Blunt force trauma," which could mean any physical injury where a person is struck by a drone, but there isn't necessarily a break in the skin. These injuries can include bruising, internal bleeding, head wounds or other injuries that may be serious or result in death.
  • Deep wounds that break the skin (penetrating wounds), also referred to as penetrating because of the nature of the entry site. Drones are prone to these such as when a rudder or wing strikes someone, which could cause the drone part to lodge itself into the skin or at least create a deep incision.

A prior study found different results

In 2017, an article in Fortune Magazine reported on a drone injuries study using crash test dummies. In that report released only a year ago, the FAA concluded that drones which flew above people were not a serious threat, according to the article.

Both studies included tests done in conjunction with multiple universities participating in the studies. Many factors are involved in testing such as wind resistance, material from which the drones are made, speed at which the drones are flown, cargo being flown, weight of the drone and any safety measures put in place such as blade guards.

Remember the rules

The FAA has specifically forbidden drone owners to fly these small unmanned aircraft systems over people. As drone ownership and use continue to grow in popularity, more information will become known about injuries and damage caused by these unmanned flying machines. In the meantime, following the rules and laws put in place by the FAA could keep your drones intact and bystanders unharmed.

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