How to shut a drone up with Phonix

Last month we featured an article about Dotterel Technologies using Phonix nanofibre in their drone propeller shrouds. Dotterel Technologies were awarded the NAB 2016 Most Innovative Product Award in Las Vegas.



They’ve been making headlines again, with a feature in Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Nanofiber Shrouds

Dotterel believes it has a solution. It’s built nanofiber-based noise reduction shrouds that surround a vehicle’s rotors, dampening the sound and directing what’s left upwards, away from people and away from cameras and microphones.

“The shrouds have innovative acoustic materials incorporated that specifically absorb noise within the speech ranges,” Rowe said. “Our shroud also protects [the rotor blades] along with the reduced noise and with it, we can also make sure the efficiency goes up enough that it counteracts the weight of the shroud, so you don’t lose flight time.”

For now, the shroud prototype reduces noise such that a typical drone sounds twice as far away as it really is. That earned the Kiwis the Most Innovative Product from industry website News Shooter during the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual meeting in April.

Dotterel is working on licensing its product to a number of companies and hopes that its noise-reducing shrouds will be shipped with commercially available vehicles by this time next year.

No vehicle can be completely quiet. Even with a nearly silent propeller and engine, “you would start to hear what we call the airframe noise,” Gaeta said. “Just the fact of an aircraft flying—the landing gear make noise, the slats and flaps make noise.”

Gaeta firmly believes noise is an issue that will need to be addressed by the UAS community. “As we open up the airspace and have more and more commercial operations, there’s going to be an outcry for noise regulations,” he said. “The minute we get these in the air, it’s the first thing people will complain about.”

On the other hand, he said, “if you design a quiet [vehicle], they won’t even know it’s there.” 

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