Report: ASSURE Finds Drone Collision Risk Minimal

SHENZHEN, CHINA—Concerns about potential collisions between drones and aircrafts may have been overstated according to a new report from the FAA’s Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE).

The report took a close look at drone collision risks using a DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter and a larger fixed-wing drone. Computer models were used to predict how they would collide with different surfaces of a passenger jet and a business jet.

The main findings indicated that the drones operated today have minimal impact on an aircraft. Tests showed that a quadcopter would not penetrate the windshield of an airplane or cause uncontained failure if ingested into an engine. At lower altitudes, the airplanes at moving at lower speeds and would produce the lowest level of damage.

ASSURE concluded that drone manufacturers should adopt sense-and-avoid and/or geofencing technologies to reduce the risk of drones colliding with aircrafts.

“ASSURE had done a great public service by rigorously analyzing the risks of collisions and providing a scientific basis for future research, product development and regulation,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI vice president of policy and legal affairs. “Drones provide great benefits to society—even saving lives—and ASSURE’s report shows why the growth of this technology should be guided by facts, not fears.”

The full ASSURE report is available here.