An investigation into the impact of unmanned aerial vehicles on soundscape perception in urban and rural environments



It is predicted that urban air mobility, including the use of small to medium sized unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) delivery systems, will be introduced into cities across the globe within the next 15 years.  It is known, however, that noise is one of the main limiting factors for the wider adoption of these vehicles.  Neither the metrics nor the methods used for conventional aircraft seem to be optimal for this novel source of noise.  This research will aid in developing suitable psychoacoustic methodologies and metrics, specifically designed to quantify community noise impact of these vehicles.  This paper describes a psychoacoustic experiment used to gather participant responses to UAV sound recordings, both isolated and with typical background noise in a diversity of soundscapes.  Results from this psychoacoustic experiment will be used to correlate perceptions of UAV noise with objective sound quality metrics, and build new regression relationships that could describe the impact of a given UAV on the perception of soundscape environments.  Future extension to the research may include evaluating the differences in psychoacoustic responses when introducing more accurate reproduction methods, such as virtual reality systems, and how these could be incorporated into a standardised human response measurement procedure.