Neighbors Complaining About the Sound of Drones

Drone deliveries may become a convenient way to get packages across town. They may be used to fly directly to the target’s location without having to deal with traffic and the pilot doesn’t even have to leave home. Many deliveries in the future will be made using drones but the technology is experiencing a new issue: Too much noise.

Many countries have strict rules about how drones can operate. They are usually not permitted to fly out of the pilot’s sight and never above crowds. But Australia is taking a risk and allowing delivery services to test their drone delivery systems. They only problem is that neighbors don’t like the noise from the drones. One resident told reporters that it was like an F1 racing car buzzing past your home. Robin McIntyre, a resident of Canberra Australia, says that the sound from the drones is very distressing.

She went on to say that the neighborhood used to be very quiet. They had a lot of local wildlife and birds but that all changed when the drone trial started.  The trial is being conducted by a company called Wing. They use delivery drones that are more than a meter long and powered by a dozen propellers. At time of writing, they have already made deliveries to more than 2500 homes in Australia’s capital.

Residents who opposed the program were originally concerned about privacy. They did not want to be watched from above but they were also worried about safety. The officials at Wing have stated that they use a traffic management platform, which operates just like air traffic control, to avoid collisions.   Despite the negative feedback from neighbors, Wing is bullish about its program’s future. They believe that their services are an environmentally sound way of making deliveries and they are welcoming the feedback. Wing aims to get around the noise issue by developing a new kind of propeller that is much more quiet. The low pitch on the new propellers allows the sound to blend in with the other neighborhood sounds.

According to NASA, the residents are right to complain. The National Space Agency did a blind test that compared a range of noises such as cars and trucks with drones. The results showed that the sound of a drone flying overhead is the most annoying.  This small town in Australia is not the only one being annoyed by drone activity. A drone pilot interrupted firefighting activities in Tasmania over Christmas and emergency helicopters were affected by drone activity twice in one week. Over in the UK, drones flying near Gatwick forced more than 1000 flights to be delayed. Though there are many benefits to drones and companies will need to work on ways to maximize those benefits, while minimizing their faults, such as loud sound, short flight times, and more.

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