ASSURE UAS Ground Collision Severity Evaluation Final Report



Final Report: UAS Ground Collision Severity Evaluation

The UAS Ground Severity Evaluation Final Report documents the UAS platform characteristics related to the severity of Unmanned Aerial Systems ground collision based upon the literature research of over 300 publications from the automotive industry, consumer battery market, toy standards and other fields. The team reviewed available research and techniques used to address blunt force trauma, penetration injuries, and lacerations as the most significant threats to the public and crews operating Small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) platforms. Two impact kinetic energy methodologies are presented to provide a risk and scenario based approach to determining kinetic energy thresholds for safe UAS operations. Initial investigation of energy transfer based on impact testing and dynamic modeling was conducted along with finite element analysis for human head and torso impacts. Results strongly suggest RCC-based thresholds are overly conservative in terms of injury potential because they do not accurately represent the collision dynamics of elastically-deformable sUAS with larger contact areas in comparison to the inelastic, metallic debris that occurs following the in-flight break up of high-speed missiles found on the national test ranges. A resultant load methodology was formulated to establish the unique impact characteristics of individual sUAS platforms that can be used with operationally relevant impact energies to determine whether a platform is safe to fly over people. Additional impact testing of more sUAS platforms is required to validate the resultant load methodology defined in this report to establish a threshold level of safety for flight over people. Dynamic modeling is also necessary to improve the assessment of UAS failure modes and associated impact energy for flight over people.


Briefing Slides: FAA/ASSURE Ground Collision Research

These briefing slides are the slides the FAA and ASSURE presented April 28, 2017 to announce the results of the Center of Excellence research on the severity of UAS collision with people and property on the ground. This is the first in a series of research being conducted to inform FAA regulations, policies, and guidelines enabling UAS safe and efficient integration into the national airspace system. This specific research is the first step aiding in answering the fundamental and complex question: how to safely fly UAS over people with minimal risk to serious injury.



Comparison Between sUAS and Steel Impacts on Crash Test Dummy

Injury potential of a drone impact at the same mass and impact energy are dramatically different. In this video, you can see the impact of the drone on the left and steel plate on the right. The metal debris (on the right) shows significant increases in injury potential over the drone for both head and neck injuries. Notice the flexing and deformation of the drone on the left, which indicates the drone has retained much of the energy following the collision, resulting in less energy being transferred to the head and neck of the crash test dummy.





Comparison Between sUAS and Wood Impacts on Crash Test Dummy

Injury potential of a drone impact at the same mass and impact energy are dramatically different. In this video, you can see the impact of the drone on the left and wood block on the right. The wood debris (on the right) shows significant increases in injury potential over the drone for both head and neck injuries. Notice the flexing and deformation of the drone on the left, which indicates the drone has retained much of the energy following the collision, resulting in less energy being transferred to the head and neck of the crash test dummy.