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April 19, 2017 AT 8:00 am

Drones vs Lightning #Drones

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Drone vs Lightning, Via The University of Manchester

It’s not often you can get within ten feet of lightning and still walk away completely unscathed, but this is what happened when we visited The University of Manchester’s High Voltage Laboratory with YouTube film maker Tom Scott, whose 750,000+ subscribers get treated to videos of Amazing Places and Things You Might Not Know. In his latest video, he explores what happens when drones are struck by lightning.

So, how do you conjure up a bolt of lightning and get it to strike a drone? Short of using magic, our best option for on-command lightning was to head to our High Voltage Lab, the largest of any UK university, which houses a 2 MV impulse generator.

Our ‘on-call’ doctors, Dr Vidyadhar Peesapati and Dr Richard Gardner, set up the equipment ready for the test. After a few warm-up bolts we ended up with something that looked a little like this:

HVLab Drone 2583 1024x683

Pretty impressive, but not quite as impressive as we wanted; it was time to put a drone in the middle of that bolt to see what would happen.

We ran two tests; the first drone, tethered to the ground to prevent any mishaps should it wander off course, was shocked with over 1 million volts of electricity. The effect was immediate; the drone came crashing down with no signs of movement.

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