A loud angry buzzing sound is something most humans instinctively don’t like.
Drone noise is more annoying at the same volume because it’s a much higher frequency, one that happens to be particularly unpleasant to the ears of most humans. The sounds that bees and wasps make denote danger and drone whine is too similar.
A NASA study found that drone sounds were twice as annoying as the same volume of noise from a car or truck.
The new Mavic Pro Platinum from DJI features redesigned rotor blades that make the unit 60 percent quieter. The blades feature a “raked wingtip” design with a curve through the middle that angles back and up at the tip. DJI also added electronic speed controllers that spin them at a different rate.
The results are impressive. When you launch indoors, the sound is more like a loud desk fan. You notice it, but it no longer sounds like an angry, oversized bee. There is no decibels change between the old rotors and the new, but the difference in pitch makes the sound more comfortable to be around.
Outdoors the difference is even more striking. At 30 feet you can hear the original Mavic Pro whine loud and clear, but the new Mavic Pro Platinum blade noise disappears.
The gray spike around 8,000Hz in the noise profile is what really bothers most human ears. The yellow shows that the new model eliminates that spike.
Frequent drone fliers will welcome this improvement. People around your flight will feel less threatened or annoyed by the noise, making the experience more pleasant.
Making drones less annoying is important to the success or failure of drone delivery initiatives like Amazon Prime Air.
Is this the beginning of a new era of quiet drones?
There’s no doubt that other manufacturers will quickly follow in DJI quiet footsteps.
For operators in construction, public safety, journalism and delivery where annoyed reactions to drone whine could foster anti-drone sentiment quiet drones could be a major breakthrough.
On the other hand, construction and agricultural worker may be more comfortable with a noisy drone that provides audible notice of possible collisions.
And people worried about drones spying on them and invading their privacy will not welcome silent drones.
What took so long?
One has to wonder why this took so long.
The changes are a common sense application of decades-old aerospace knowledge. DJI says they aren’t more expensive to produce. And they allow longer battery life.
Bringing this design improvement to market confirms that DJI is years ahead of other consumer drone manufacturer in innovation.
Ready to upgrade to a stealthy Pro Platinum? Contact Endurance Drones now.
Tip of the hat to The Verge