To test potential injury risk, researchers at Virginia Tech are repeatedly flying drones into the face of a crash test dummy and studying the impacts. The tests are fun to watch, but they also provide valuable data that the Federal Aviation Administration can use when developing regulations for autonomous flight.
Along with the crash dummy tests, the team will also perform drop tests and other experiments to further study the damage drones could cause.
The team has already begun the first phase of the project. Different unmanned aircraft are flown directly into a test dummy, mimicking what might happen if an aircraft accidentally hits someone. Sensors in the dummy’s head and neck measure the force generated by the impact.