Quantitative Approach and Departure Risk  Assessment for Unmanned Aerial Systems

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Virginia Tech

The usage of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also called drones, has grown at an increasing rate, with expectations of the number of unmanned aircraft (UA) to triple between 2019 and 2023 as commercial and government usage of UAS increases as per the Federal Aviation Administration. As the usage of UA increases, the probability of a UA crash resulting in injuries of 3rd parties on the ground also increases. The goal of this research was to create a method and software tool that gives the user an accurate representation of the risk to 3rd parties on the ground associated with a given flight plan. The main area of focus was on large rotorcraft and fixed-wing aircraft that are used by the military and that have the potential to do large amounts of damage if a crash were to occur. How unique types of failures affect the ground area at risk and the UA crash characteristics and how these characteristics affect population on the ground were all considered. With this information, a probability of fatality value is calculated, which helps the user determine if the mission risk is acceptable. The ability to optimize this flight path to find the lowest risk flight path is also possible, based upon user specifications.

Risk Assessment, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Drones