Quantifying ground impact fatality rate for small unmanned aircraft

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

Abstract

One of the major challenges of conducting operation of unmanned aircraft, especially operations beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS), is to make a realistic and sufficiently detailed risk assessment. An important part of such an assessment is to identify the risk of fatalities, preferably in a quantitative way since this allows for comparison with manned aviation to determine whether an equivalent level of safety is achievable. This work presents a method for quantifying the probability of fatalities resulting from an uncontrolled descent of an unmanned aircraft conducting a BVLOS flight. The method is based on a standard stochastic model, and employs a parameterized high fidelity ground impact distribution model that accounts for both aircraft specifications, parameter uncertainties, and wind. The method also samples the flight path to create an almost continuous quantification of the risk as a function of mission flight time. The methodology is exemplified with a 180 km flight in Danish airspace with a Penguin C aircraft.
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One of the major challenges of conducting operation of unmanned aircraft, especially operations beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS), is to make a realistic and sufficiently detailed risk assessment. An important part of such an assessment is to identify the risk of fatalities, preferably in a quantitative way since this allows for comparison with manned aviation to determine whether an equivalent level of safety is achievable. This work presents a method for quantifying the probability of fatalities resulting from an uncontrolled descent of an unmanned aircraft conducting a BVLOS flight. The method is based on a standard stochastic model, and employs a parameterized high fidelity ground impact distribution model that accounts for both aircraft specifications, parameter uncertainties, and wind. The method also samples the flight path to create an almost continuous quantification of the risk as a function of mission flight time. The methodology is exemplified with a 180 km flight in Danish airspace with a Penguin C aircraft.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems
ISSN0921-0296
StateSubmitted - 30 Sep 2017
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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