9 comments to “Thousands of Drones Fill the Skies, Raising Fears of Midair Collisions”

  1. Mathew King

    Yeah the future holds new traffic rules for drones in sky. I feel there should be system built right in the drones to avoid collision in the sky. The system should be well intelligent, like it should be connected to GPS and internet to send its exact location to air traffic control department. Just tried to suggest my thoughts on that. Well this is great article to read. Thanks.

  2. My Drone Choice

    Nice article

  3. Ophir

    The comparison to a frozen chicken was probably made because these are often used in bird impact testing. The rigidity of a drone isn’t equivalent to a frozen chicken but is not too far from that of a slightly smaller frozen bird. Consider the weight of a large seagull can be less than two pounds. Also, I’ve personally witnessed engines being heavily damaged by smaller birds (e.g. a crow), holes being left through an airplane’s tail from bird strike, and an engine totally destroyed by a single fastener (in this case it was a screw or an anchor nut). Even if the comparison to a frozen chicken may be unfair (perhaps in the case of small drones like DJI Phantom), the drone still contains metallic parts and usuallyba camera that is far from soft. This is much more thaj a bird or a screw. Food for thought. One more important point – the risk is most significant to the drone industry: one collision, even if it has no casualties, will bring this industry to its knees.

  4. Ophir

    I recently had a discussion about this topic with a regulator, who also argued that following airworthiness guidelines would raise the cost of a $1000 UAV to $20,000. I argue that this is inaccurate, based on the numbers of drones and relatively common architecture, at that price range, being sold by some of the better known manufacturers. Moreover, the cost of developing a safe system will easily be offset by the cost (loss of opportunity) of falling short on compliance if and when that becomes a requirement or the high cost of dealing with an accident (which could cripple the entire Drone industry). Manufacturers that are forward thinking will hopefully recognize the value in being proactive on such matters. The initiative should come from the makers and operators, not from the regulators, but restrictions must come from the regulators sooner than later. As an aviation enthusiast and Drone expert and as someone who has also developed and operated drones, I now worry about Drone collisions every time I fly in a manned aircraft.

  5. Martin Risso

    Before the DJI became popular, I did a lot with the MikroKopter controlled quads. Almost all quads have GPS and altitude sensors. It would not be a great effort for the drone manufacturers to include a limit that won’t let it fly over 400 feet. And with a little more effort, an on board list of no fly zone GPS coordinates so that the novice quad flyer has to obey the basic model aircraft rules. Maybe the FAA could have a “secret code” so that once you pass an FAA drone flight test, then you get the “secret code” from the FAA that would disable these limits. This “secret code” could be based on the quad’s serial number so that one code would only work with one particular drone. This would not be an excessive firmware effort on the part of drone manufacturers. Then the hobby guys have the limits and the professionals who have had training and passed the FAA test wouldn’t have these limits. I think this would be a good compromise that would satisfy everyone.

    Martin Risso
    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/martin-risso/71/599/a09

  6. Kevin Leroy

    I really dislike irresponsible users it should read.

  7. Kevin Leroy

    The dji phantom pictured would definitely act erratic once launched if the flyer flew it “out of the box”. That model, and most all in general, require the compass/gps unit to be calibrated before flight. And, before a new flight in a different area. The box instructions clearly indicate the process before flight. The actions of the flyer were negligent and potentially dangerous. Follow the instructions included people. I enjoy my hobby and I really dislike responsible users.

  8. Jason Bosch

    I strongly second Matthew’s comment.

  9. Matthew Mabey

    Comparing the recreational drones to frozen chickens or bricks is silly. Even if the mass was the same (in most cases recreational drones are much less massive than either bricks or frozen chickens), the rigidity of a drone isn’t the same as a brick or frozen chicken. A thawed chicken would be closer to the mark. Better still, a pigeon.
    Bird strikes on aircraft are a good model. How many fatalities are there due to bird strikes in the US each year? How many birds are there in the US compared to how many drones there are? That would give a real sense of the hazard. Then add in a modicum of safety effort on the part of many drone operators that doesn’t apply to bird behavior. That would be a reasonable assessment of the hazard.
    I’m in favor of rational regulations that demonstrably enhance safety, but this article quotes too much hyperbole and irrational speculation (i.e. bricks and frozen chickens). That kind of thinking results in irrational regulations that do nothing for safety and perhaps even reduce safety.

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