Drones are becoming ubiquitous throughout many industries, and despite new regulations mandating their use coming into force these robotic devices could become a source of unexpected problems. One potentially critical scenario is associated with the use of drones to inspect objects located near busy roads. What could happen if a fast-flying mechanism were to crash into a car?
Image credit: Virginia Tech (YouTube video still)
Motivated by this question, a team of engineers and researchers from Virginia Tech university conducted an experiment where one of commercially available drones was forced to perform such sort of collision at 100km/h (62.5mph) to determine possible outcomes.
Naturally, windshield of a car is probably its weakest structural point, and a hit like that could cause a serious incident. Luckily, windshields are not as fragile as they seem, as we can see from the video below:
Of course, not all hits happen in the same way, and not all drones are equally flexible. But there is no doubt that such experiments are needed to increase the overall safety of drones, especially when they are used near humans and important objects.