How Lethal is Mavic

Discussion in 'sUAV Rules & Regulations' started by Cookedinlh, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. Cookedinlh

    Cookedinlh Well-Known Member

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    Transport Canada will not allow flights BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) commercial or otherwise. . . . even with a standing or Blanket SFOC. I spoke to them yesterday regarding a special case whereby as long as it was under GPS control and within the boundaries of the field you are working in, then the Mavic being so tiny (<5 sq cm cross-section at best), it can only be legally flown to a distance about 200m or so. They sited "safety" and lack of "Compliance" (no CSA UL or other mark) as the reason. You could hit someone and do serious damage by running into them.

    So I did a quick back of the envelop calculation on the energy imparted fro a Mavic if it struck a human going full speed (~20.6m/s). This is based on Transport Canada's document discussing why Drones need to be classified by weight in order to regulate their use. They classify a golf ball as "non-lethal but getting close" imparting a max energy transfer of 120 joules of total energy and 8.4J/cm2.

    If I do the same calc with MavicPro numbers it comes out to 10.4J/cm2 if it hit someone head-on ( worst case assuming collision avoidance had failed) 0.734kg x 20.6m/s - (0.83 x 0.83cm cross-section) . not counting the arms or blade damage of course. That's the kinetic energy release. . . and I believe that can only be "potentially" lethal if it struck someone in the head and only certain places in the head ( not a "confirmed kill"). The risk is not ZERO but it is practically insignificant over 10,000's of hours ( maybe 100,000's) of hours of flight time in the hands of a qualified pilot.

    So I am trying to argue that Mavic is so small and light and protected by collision avoidance that based on this worst case scenario, they should be considered safe beyond your ability to see it (BVLOS) when you have excellent position, speed and direction data constantly in front of you, while at the same time, you can visually "clear" the airspace around the very accurate known position of the Mavic. You can see of any hazard from larger objects in or approaching it's vicinity.

    Any thoughts? MORE HERE on my website
     
    #1 Cookedinlh, Oct 21, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
  2. The Editor

    The Editor Well-Known Member

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    And beyond VLOS you have absolutely zero situational awareness other than the small FOV camera. No other senses, peripheral vision, aural indications to alert you of a possible air collision with another aircraft (helicopter etc).
    Additionally, have you considered terminal velocity of the aircraft falling vertically due to total power failure onto someone's head or into their windshield. I know I would not want nearly a kilogramme of hard plastic falling on my head from 400ft.

    There is a sensible reason that BVLOS flights are not legal unless you obtain special dispensation from a national aviation authority and in order to achieve that you will need to demonstrate almost no single point of failure with redundancy on all systems together with a series of spotters and two way communication over the flight path.
     
  3. Cookedinlh

    Cookedinlh Well-Known Member

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    I understand your point, basically that you can not see around, behind or near you when flying . . but . . . I'm not talking about FPV. I have loads of "situational Awareness". If you and an observer are following the device around a pre-planned and well recce'd route. You can confidently know that it's where the controller GPS says it is. . . in 3 dimensions . . it's just too small to see with the naked eye in certain light. . . yet . . . I can easily see anything larger than a kite nearby at nearly 1000m.

    If the flight planned route is out and back say 500-800m, then it's only going to be "unseeable" for 30-60 seconds or so till it comes back in view on the return route. I would first plan to station observers and prove the route is viable while preparing for BVLOS ops. . not just send it off willy nilly and hope it comes home safely when the battery gets low . . so I do not see BVLOS under many conditions as "risky". We are talking about the potential risk of total failure of the Mavic system "fly away" (Fly away collision risk includes simultaneous collision avoidance failure, GeoFence boundary failure, and failure of auto-land and RTH commanded and automatic before the possibility of striking an object that could be damaged by a Mavic). High degree of certainty, Mavic's 740grams are the only thing that will get damaged. The odds of getting a stone in your windshield or a golf ball to the head I suspect would be much higher. . . but we still allow driving and golfing around people.

    Fly Away can happen anyway . . . in full view . . as a pre-release unit has shown. Check out experienced flyer CaseyNeistat Remember that was a pre-release demo system not a production unit. But where is the risk boundary line? If Mavic weighed 10 grams would that be a risk? . . how about 100 grams? . . .I think with current technology, even 1kg is an arbitrary risk assessment without data to support it.

    Just saying, the rules are pretty broad brush without much consideration to real world ops. I guess it just gets too complicated for anyone to make a judgement call that they can be held accountable for. Isn't the pilot accountable anyway, no matter what regulations there are . . like the rest of aviation?
     
    #3 Cookedinlh, Oct 21, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
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  4. The Editor

    The Editor Well-Known Member

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    Believe me - that half witted idiot on PooTube is not an experienced UAV Pilot.
    A wreckless idiot yes, but not experienced in any way when it comes to airspace, following regulations or even capable or willing to read an instruction manual.
    The reason he lost his loned Mavic was because he flew behind a building and lost rf link in a heavy urban environment . Not something anyone with an ounce of common sense or respect for both equipment and people/property would do.

    Oh, I take your point t on the BVLOS scenario - sorry, I thought you were meaning flying off a couple of miles away where you would have no SA whatsoever
     
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  5. Cookedinlh

    Cookedinlh Well-Known Member

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    I agree he's sure wreaked a lot of stuff . . did you see the number of P4 Cases on his shelf . . but I think he knows more about photography and social media than drone technology. I was not aware of the details of the incident . . he never said really . . so that make sense. Still NY is not a great place to fly like that in any case.
     
  6. Cookedinlh

    Cookedinlh Well-Known Member

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    My first statement was flawed . . . Let's do that again . . the KE (Kinetic Energy) is 1/2 Mass x Velocity Squared or 0.5 x 0.743 x 424.4 =157.65 joules of energy. If you divide that by the cross section of a head-on MavicPro ( 8.3 cm x 8.3 cm) doing 20.6 m/s then the impact energy / sq cm is 2.29 Joules . . I've rethought this whole argument now, and contacted Transport Canada to consider making a new classification of UAV/drone as "VERY SMALL" and "VERY LOW ENERGY" and posted it on my BLOG Drones To Go Blog

    As it is now a drone under 2kg cannot be used commercially beyond line of sight. and the Advisory Circular 004 seems to expire on 31 Dec 16 . . . just over 60 days from now. . . with nothing in it's place. The MavicPro represents a significant advance in size and capability that is extremely useful for many missions currently done by larger, more expensive and more risky/lethal drones.

    I'll let you know what I hear back.
     
    #6 Cookedinlh, Oct 23, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
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  7. int3grate

    int3grate Member

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    Really, the whole thing is silly. People don't get killed by "toy" drones, and the Mavic really is that - a toy. There are several conditions that would need to be met to create a situation in with a toy drone could cause a fatal accident:

    a.) Drone going terminal velocity.
    b.) Complete loss of operator control.
    c.) Unaware victim.
    d.) Impact into sensitive area (head, chest)

    The probability of all of these happening, is extremely low. You don't have to register your baseball bats and baseballs / softballs, hockey pucks, golf balls, or even guns for that matter. All of these items have a documented history of killing people.

    Even for collision with aircraft there have been studies done that show that the probability of a drone causing an accident is negligible when compared to other hazards like birds.
     
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  8. Cookedinlh

    Cookedinlh Well-Known Member

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    Not silly at all really . . What you describe is actually how "Risk Assessment" is done . . . The issue is that there is no category for "very small low energy drones" and so the commercial restrictions apply because they "pose a threat to personal and property security on the surface and in the air when flown beyond visual line of sight" . The regulations need to address the fact that they pose no additional threat BVLOS than they do within VLOS. . . or the commercial use of them is slanted to favour only large expensive but no more capable machines.
     
  9. capnzoog

    capnzoog Member

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    The mavic, for all of it's technical improvements, isn't well equipped for BVLOS operations. I think a flying wing could be more readily adapted to that type of use, though we're still a ways away from making that available at consumer prices. As always, the regulation will lag the technology.
     
  10. Cookedinlh

    Cookedinlh Well-Known Member

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    I agree, flying wing has more legs and loiter time perhaps but I'm talking about a specific set of missions mostly surveillance and security ( because there is so much there that I have had time to think of other missions). You just need to go no more than1000m radius mostly and get video or photographic evidence of a target or a series of target on one mission. You need to get there NOW . . not 5 min later. . . . and you need accurate GPS positioning to be able to reliably get the identical view repeatedly, perhaps to produce a historical record.

    Flying wings and their controllers take up a lot of space in your pocket . . . so I think Mavic Pro solves all that and more for a whole host of much needed commercial missions.

    Only trouble is Mavic is going to "disappear" in about 200m due to it's cross-section and the arbitrary rule of "no BVLOS" . . ostensibly because they are "too dangerous and risky" . . . hence the discussion here about Lethality . . . MORE HERE
     
    #10 Cookedinlh, Oct 25, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
  11. kennedye

    kennedye Member

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    I'm guessing Transport Canada doesn't have an y kind of waiver system in place like the FAA's?
     
  12. Cookedinlh

    Cookedinlh Well-Known Member

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    It seems to me there is a way to get those kinds of requests approved on a case-by-case, but it also seems they are being very cautious in granting them, especially now, since the rules are just being developed. Someone there would likely have to take personal responsibility for granting a waiver to an existing SFOC that has many written limits.
     
  13. Morgon

    Morgon Active Member

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    People really need to stop calling that a 'flyaway'. He flew behind several buildings, losing connection to the device. It tried to RTH and hit a sailboat. That's not a flyaway, that's a unfortunate consequence of being completely careless.
     
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  14. Cookedinlh

    Cookedinlh Well-Known Member

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    Yes totally agree and why I am pressing Transport Canada and others here in Canada at least to consider lowering the threshold on lower risk, smaller sized, but very capable machines. Just this afternoon I spoke with the co-chair of the committee developing these regs and he suggested there may be a new class of UAV-RPAS in Canada for <1kg with more freedom to operate given the very low kinetic energy threat they pose in a smaller radius of action. . . not sure if they consider 4-5 miles as "Small", but they ARE moving in that direction based on similar energy calculations I posted above. The conference in Calgary next week (3-4 Nov) sponsored by Unmanned Systems Canada will address that. We'll keep an eye on the results and report back. I think they understand the size/regulatory issue better than some people think . . we'll see.
     
  15. The Editor

    The Editor Well-Known Member

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    It's pointless to even think about using the Mavic as a surveillance or security platform - it would be useless in this role since if it rains you can't use it! :p
    There are far better suited and more capable RPAS developed for that type of specific role.
    Burglars, vandals, or any other perpetrators do not wait for nice weather and specific wind conditions to commit their crimes which is what they would have to do if you used a Mavic.
     
  16. Cookedinlh

    Cookedinlh Well-Known Member

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    Have to agree with you . . there are more capable machines out there . . . however I've built a business on not being the ASAD of drones . . ASAD (All Singing All Dancing) . . most security and surveillance work doesn't need the MI 5 James Bond level of performance capabilities . . . I'm finding, most often you just need someone to "do rounds" when it's convenient to look at the roof or the crops or the parking lot or the solar farm, or the turbine blades once in a while without a whole lot of fan fair. They just want a permanent visual record . . . that's where a huge amount of the bread and butter is . . . I think there is space . . and a place . . for both, but the under 1-2kg HD video Daylight/IR package has not been recognized yet as a workhorse. . . and yes I know there's not IR at that scale right now but give it a few more months . . The low cost of these devices is making this major piece of the surveillance market accessible to everyone.
     
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  17. westcoast604

    westcoast604 Member

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    I gotta agree with Int3grate on this silliness. While it is necessary to have rules and regulations in place, Transport Canada needs to get their head out of the office and into the real world to see that these small (< 1kg) drones pose very little risk, even when flown in city parks and in controlled airspace at lower altitudes. It's a classic case of a few bad apples spoiling the fun for everyone, and they need to go after the few bad apples and not regulate this industry to its death.
     
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  18. Cookedinlh

    Cookedinlh Well-Known Member

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    Nicely said . . . But be aware that Transport Canada has a huge role in Aviation as well . . and virtually no budget compared to past years . . . It will be the talk of COPA (Canadian Owners and Pilots Association) 6-7 Dec in a few weeks at the International UAV conference in Toronto. I'll be there with COPA . . they "get it" for individuals and Small Business . . so come on out and help if you are anywhere near Toronto. I'll be there at the COPA Booth and helping make the case for rational regulation . . .and we need more individuals and small business UAV folks there too.
     
  19. jafoyyc

    jafoyyc New Member

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    If Transport Canada was really serious about regulation all UAV's should be registered. Then maybe those who are not responsible will think twice about about how they use there drones.


    Sent from my iPhone using MavicPilots
     
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  20. Cookedinlh

    Cookedinlh Well-Known Member

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    Yes . . I agree . . . I've posted a general concept for how to do Air Traffic Control of drones. Maybe someone is already way ahead of me on this . . but I so far I don't see it . .see my Drones to go BLOG
     
    #20 Cookedinlh, Nov 22, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
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