Visual and audio perception study on drone aircraft and similar sounds in an Urban Air Mobility setting



Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is a novel aerospace concept involving drones and Personal Air Vehicles (PAVs) operating in a densely populated urban environment. Most of such vehicles will be electric-powered and rotor-based, creating a distinct sound in the proposed setting of a city. Public acceptability, partially due to noise impact, is a valid concern for the introduction of UAM. To evaluate human perception and noise annoyance of these vehicles, a study is set up that comprises audio-only and combined audio-visual stimuli of hovering and fly-over events using a Virtual Reality experiment. For both types of stimuli, two ambient environments, recorded with synchronized spherical video and ambisonics audio, are provided as background: a louder urban street environment, and a quieter urban street environment. In addition to the drone sounds, more familiar sounds are also evaluated, namely a helicopter and a lawnmower sound, with and without a visualisation. Test subjects are asked about their noise sensitivity according to a shortened Weinstein scale, and their attitude towards drones using a separate questionnaire at the end of the experiment.

[Note from authors: The laboratory study is ongoing and the first results are being analysed. The final results are expected well before the paper deadline. This abstract will be complemented with the main results and conclusions.]