ADVERTISEMENT
latest stories:

Are Personal Drones a Public Hazard? [Video]

DIY drone enthusiasts speak out about safety
personal drones


How safe would you feel walking around with those drones buzzing overhead? 

More In This Article

Attaching a GoPro camera to a personal drone gives you an aerial perspective unlike any other. That’s one reason these vehicles are getting popular with enthusiasts. But how safe would you feel walking around with those drones buzzing overhead? What if a drone suddenly drops midair or crashes into a building?

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that by 2018, there could be as many as 7,500 small, commercial unmanned aerial systems swarming through the sky. In fact, last year Amazon announced its plan to roll out autonomous drones to help achieve speedy deliveries in the future. Today, personal drones are already in flight. “Flying above 200 feet is unnecessary with these kinds of aircraft,” says Steven Cohen, unmanned autonomous systems education coordinator at Bergen Community College. Cohen teaches STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students how to build and fly their own recreational unmanned aerial vehicles, which rely on several rotors.

Unlike their winged counterparts, recreational drones are less efficient and only have enough power for about 15 minutes of flight, according to Cohen, who is also an organizer of the New York City Drone User Group. This limitation actually doubles as an unintended safety benefit. “It can be fatiguing to fly for longer duration,” Cohen explains, and fatigue can cause accidents.

As the video explains, personal drones do have built-in safety features, including for loss of radio control or GPS signals, but he says that when it comes to safety “it really depends on the operator and someone’s experience.”
 

 

More on drones:

Better Security Measures Are Needed Before Drones Roam the U.S. Airspace

Could Radio-Hijacked Civilian Drones Become Lethal Projectiles?

Drones Bring Fight and Flight to Battle against Poachers

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Limited Time Only!

Get 50% off Digital Gifts

Hurry sale ends 12/31 >

X

Email this Article

X