Buzz of Drones Is More Annoying Than Noise From Other Vehicles

NASA study says people are most irritated by drone sounds.

July 21, 2017 5:00 am
Google Is Helping the Pentagon Build AI for Drones. (Getty Images)

Amazon drones might be delivering irritation along with packages when they finally hit the skies.

A new report found that people are more annoyed by the sound coming from drones than any other kind of vehicle, even heard at the same volume. The finding comes from a NASA study comparing the noise to those produced by cars or trucks.

Researchers played recordings of cars, utility vans, delivery trucks, and commercially available drones flying at various heights and speeds. Participants were then asked to rate the sounds from “not at all annoying” to “extremely annoying.” According to New Scientist, the level of annoyance caused by a drone was equal suddenly listening to a car that was twice as loud as before.

Researchers suspect people tend to be less irritated by what’s more familiar to them, which might explain why drones were the outlier. However, “very few” participants could distinguish the sound of a drone and were only told it was the “future of transportation.”

Another explanation might be tied to how fast a drone moves, which is far slower than a car or truck. Annoyance levels were associated with the duration of the recordings. Participants commonly complained the drones would “loiter.”

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