Hate the high-pitched buzzing of camera drones? You’re not alone. A new study published by NASA has found that people find drone founds more annoying than any ground vehicle, even when the sounds are heard at the same volume.
NASA found 38 subjects and ask them to listen to sounds related to “the future of transportation.” Some of the sounds were recordings of drones (including the DJI Phantom 2) and others were the sounds of ground vehicles ranging from the consumer Subaru Impreza Sport hatchback to diesel truck.
What the scientists found was that the extra annoyance levels of drone sounds were the equivalent of cars being twice as close as they were before.
“Initial analysis of the data from this test indicates that there may be a systematic difference between the annoyance response generated by the noise of the sUAS [Small Unmanned Aircraft System] and the road vehicles included in this study,” NASA concludes. “This result casts doubt on the idea that sUAS operators can expect their operations to be greeted with minimal noise-based opposition as long as the sound of their systems are ‘no louder than’ conventional package delivery solutions.”
“We didn’t go into this test thinking there would be this significant difference,” says study coauthor Andrew Christian.
So for drones to be less annoying to the public than cars on the road, drone manufacturers may need to find a way to make them much more quiet.