After a number of close calls in recent months, UK officials are committed to safety testing drones that share the air with passenger jets by crashing them into one another mid-flight.
Committing more than £250,000 ($304,962), the Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority teamed with the Ministry of Defense to carry out the tests on 5,000 square miles of restricted airspace in Snowdonia, Wales. Dr. Peter Downer of the Ministry of Defense told Daily Mail:
We are conducting mid-air collision studies for the CAA to look at impact of aircraft with unmanned vehicles.
There is a series of trials about the security risks and we need to continue this with a commercial study. There will be further studies of mid-air collisions of drone impact with fuselage and windows.
According to the National Air Traffic Service, there are now more than two million drones competing for airspace in Britain. Many more are set to come online in the coming years as everyone from Amazon to Dominos makes a bid to increase delivery capacity through use of drones.
Testing on empty flights is an attempt to learn more about the potential ramifications if one of Britain’s reported 23 near-misses over a six month period were to actually make contact. Still, it seems like a toddler mentality of ramming things together to see what happens — not that we have a problem with that.