SU project tests impact of drones falling on people

Local News

A Syracuse University led project is looking at the impact of a small drone failure falling from the sky and landing on someone.

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Mark Glauser and his team Friday used the warehouse at the Center of Excellence in Syracuse for its tests.

They took one of the most popular drones on the market, a small three-pound drone, and dropped it from various heights between 20 ft. and 50 ft.

“One can imagine that it’s you or me sitting there and it’s whacking us in the head now.  It’s nice to have the instrumented dummies.”  Glauser tells NewsChannel 9.

There are 13 high tech sensors in the dummy used in the study.

It comes from a globally respected crash test company in Buffalo, CalSpan.

The team conducted an impact test to measure things like acceleration and force to help us understand the damage one of these small drones can cause if it fails, falling out of the sky with someone below.

“When we drop the drone flat that impact is spread out over a broader area than when we dropped it at an angle that was like a knife coming down.”  Glauser says.

He says the results of a study like this can be used to offer drone manufacturers design suggestions to minimize the negative impacts of a falling drone.

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