UK government's drone collision report not released gets criticised

Drones clampdown to get owners registered for UK safetyGovernment wants users to pass a saftey-awareness test to operate

Manufacturers DJI, Parrot and GoPro have criticised a UK government report on the danger of drones colliding with aircraft.


The Department for Transport has rejected calls from drone makers DJI, Parrot and GoPro to release details of its drone testing methodology on the grounds of "security".


"Some of the most alarming findings in DfT's summary are based on an object that resembles a javelin more than a drone," said Daniel Brinkwerth, of the Drone Manufacturers Alliance Europe (DMAE). The organisation's three members are DJI, Parrot and GoPro.



DMAE, which accounts for almost 80% of the civil drones operating in the world, said it wanted the department to release the full testing methodology and results of its Mid-Air Collision Study.


"There have been no confirmed collisions anywhere in the world between a modern consumer drone and a traditional aircraft, and drone manufacturers are working diligently on technological solutions to prevent any such collision," DMAE's Daniel Brinkwerth said.


But DMAE maintained that it lacks scientific rigour.

"Many of the shortcomings in this summary report could have been addressed during the research process with more robust participation from all stakeholders. All the major drone manufacturers stand ready to assist with further studies by providing materials for testing as well as research assistance from our experts."


"The study's authors could not find a way to launch a 4kg drone against an aircraft windscreen, so they mounted two motors, a heavy camera and an oversized battery on nylon arms.


"This object could never fly, much less encounter an airliner at high altitude. Researchers need access to the full test results to understand whether this is an acceptable shortcut for scientific research."


The DMAE response document also highlights a US Federal Aviation Administration report which concluded that small drones were far safer to operate than had been previously assumed.


"Its detailed descriptions of testing methodology and exhaustive test results allowed researchers, manufacturers and others to examine the data and use it to improve drone safety," pointed out the DMAE.


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The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) called for a register of drone users to be linked to systems which would allow real-time tracking and tracing of the gadgets, to aid enforcement of flying laws.


Brinkwerth highlighted a 195-page report (PDF) written by the US Federal Aviation Authority as a model of drone research. That paper, he said, "was peer-reviewed before publication".


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