How to Assess Impact of UAV-Plane Collisions: Fly Them into Each Other?

The U.K. has reportedly come up with a way to find out once and for all what the effects of a drone and manned aircraft crash would be: fly drones deliberately into passenger jets.

The Daily Mail reports that the country’s Department of Transport, Civil Aviation Authority and Ministry of Defence collectively called for the “secretive tests” as part of a 250,000 British pounds study.

QinetiQ, a science and engineering company operating primarily in the defense, security and aerospace markets, will be carrying out the testing in restricted airspace in Wales.

Peter Downer of the defense ministry told the Daily Mail, “We are conducting mid-air collision studies for the CAA to look at impact of aircraft with unmanned vehicles. There is a series of trials about the security risks, and we need to continue this with a commercial study. There will be further studies of mid-air collisions of drone impact with fuselage and windows.”

Speaking on the news, Jean-Cristophe Zufferey, CEO and co-founder of Swiss drone company senseFly, notes the importance of establishing a solution that improves communication between both the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operator and manned aircraft pilot.

“While it’s important that we understand the risks of mid-air collisions, it’s more important that we find a solution,” he says in a statement.

senseFly recently teamed up with aviation navigation app Air Navigation Pro to launch Safer Together, an initiative to address the risk of mid-air collisions.

“Near-misses are a problem caused by a breakdown in communication, and Safer Together is working to solve this problem,” Zufferey says,

“Currently, drone operators don’t have the insight they need to avoid near-misses,” he adds. “This lack of awareness not only risks people’s safety – it burdens drone operators with full responsibility for flying safely. Both pilots and UAV operators need two-way, or bi-directional, awareness of one another’s flight paths to ensure that drone operators have the insight they need in order to change, pause or abort a flight and avoid collision.”

The full Daily Mail coverage can be found here.


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