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  • Writer's pictureRefMap

Towards the environmental noise assessment of Unmanned Aircraft Systems operations

Dr. Antonio José Torija Martínez, Associate Professor of our partner, the University of Salford, delivered a seminar on 23 October 2023 at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (University of Southampton, UK). The title of the seminar was “Towards the environmental noise assessment of Unmanned Aircraft Systems operations”.

During this seminar, Dr Torija Martinez discussed state-of-the-art research and practice for the measurement and assessment of the noise produced by Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations. This work is of direct relevance for the RefMap project, as it provides the tools and understanding for the trajectory optimisation of UAS for lower community noise impact.

About the seminar’s topic

The rapid expansion of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) sector poses a significant challenge for acoustic engineers working on the environmental noise impact assessment of these new aerial technologies. As widely recognised, the noise signatures and operational profiles of UAS differ significantly from conventional aircraft, and therefore, existing measurement procedures and assessment methods might not be able to provide an appropriate assessment of UAS noise.

There are specific questions that should be addressed for a wider deployment of UAS operations without compromising communities’ health and well-being due to noise exposure: (i) How will communities respond to the unconventional noise signatures of UAS? and (ii) What measurement procedures and metric can ensure an accurate assessment of UAS noise impact? This presentation will overview the work carried out for the measurement and development of acoustic hemispheres for UAS operations containing sound level, frequency, and directivity information; and how this acoustic data can be used for noise mapping and auralisation. Furthermore, the state-of-the-art noise metrics for UAS will be discussed, with a focus on existing gaps and further work required.

Dr. Antonio José Torija Martínez talks about his personal experience at the seminar

“I really enjoyed travelling to Southampton for this seminar. It was great to be back at the ISVR after a bit more than 4 years since I left to join the University of Salford in Manchester. During the seminar, I had the opportunity to overview the ongoing work we are doing on UAS noise in several of my research projects, including REFMAP. There were really interesting questions about further work on understanding the influence of contextual factors on the perception of UAS noise, and also on whether we have the metrics or the understanding to assess the human response to fleets with several UAS operating. Some of these questions will be soon addressed in a series of psychoacoustic experiments for the REFMAP project. After the seminar, I had the opportunity to discuss some research opportunities with several colleagues, with interesting ideas to bring together aeroacoustics and psychoacoustics.”

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