The widespread use of drones among the general public has led to an alarming increase in accidents, some with lethal consequences. As drone blades are made from rigid materials and rotate at very high speeds, their impact with a human body can result in fatal injuries. Reliable collision detection combined with near-instantaneous braking of the drone’s rotor(s) can substantially lessen the severity of injuries sustained. The purpose of this paper is to achieve a safety solution which can be easily integrated into new products, or retrofitted into existing systems.
Through a proof of concept, this paper demonstrates the possibility of detecting a collision with a drone propeller absent any hardware modifications to the drone’s instrumentation. The solution relies on current-sensor readings, ordinarily used for monitoring the battery status of electrically actuated drones. The braking is achieved purely by reconfiguring the motor’s control strategy, without the need for additional hardware, as has been the case in previous works.
This paper demonstrates the possibility of detecting a collision with a drone propeller absent any hardware modifications to the drone’s instrumentation.
Compared to previous works which require installing additional hardware, the solution is purely software. This makes it very easy to integrate into existing systems or new products, at no additional cost. In experiments conducted on a prototype system, the solution was shown capable of detecting a collision and braking the motor in fewer than 20 ms. This allowed attenuating centimetre-deep cuts made to a piece of meat by an unprotected rotor to mere superficial scratches.
Araar, O., Benjdia, K. and Vitanov, I. (2021), "Hardware-free collision detection and braking for securing drone propellers", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 93 No. 6, pp. 946-956. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEAT-12-2019-0246
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