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July 2024 | 2nd PRESS RELEASE

Inside the research on people’s perception of drones

Psychoacoustic field studies in Athens' Grove

Athens, Greece 05.07.2024


During the ImAFUSA Open Day in May 2024 in Athens, Greece, the project research team conducted a psychoacoustic experiment in parallel with a social acceptance survey of innovative aerial services for the first time. Over 130 people from nearby universities and vocational education centres participated in a three-step live, outdoor experiment to gauge public perceptions of innovative aerial services, and responses to drone sounds.

In these so-called "soundwalks", the participants first observed multiple drone flights led by the Acoustics Research Centre at the University of Salford (USAL), in collaboration with the Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering (TUDelft) team.  The soundwalks were facilitated on-site by the Municipality of Egaleo (EGL) and Future Needs (FN) while adhering to the guidelines set forth by the researchers at the USAL. These walks aimed to evaluate how the ambient sound scenes were perceived in two different park settings and to find out how adding drone noise affected those impressions. Specifically, we used a set of word-pair scales (eg. pleasant-unpleasant) to ask participants to rate their perceptions of the sounds. By doing this, we can evaluate a wide range of emotional responses alongside annoyance and loudness. A drone operator from the Municipality of Egaleo also participated in the procedure. After the soundwalks, in stage two of the experiment, the participants answered questions about their perception of drones after they were exposed to the drone flights and sounds.


In the third stage of our experiment, our project coordinator Sophia Kalakou and the research team from the Business Research Unit (BRU-Iscte) organised and oversaw the completion of a societal acceptance survey by the sound-walk participants with the objective to address citizen acceptance aspects and assist the planning process of Local Authorities to introduce socially accepted services. The participants were asked to state their viewpoints on the potential use of drones in city operations for different purposes (eg. sensing, logistics, emergencies) as well as how acceptable they consider their application in a more complex future where innovative aerial services are offered and have the potential to become part of daily life. The output of this work is expected to be an acceptance scale to be used in any city and address the level of citizens´ acceptance of UAM services.


“Special thanks to all the people involved in the organisation and execution of the pilots, it has been a very important milestone for the project and we expect to get our first results out of them!”

-Sophia Kalakou, Iscte, project coordinator

The ImAFUSA project funded by SESAR 3 is an exploratory research project targeting a Technology Readiness Level 1 (TRL) exploratory research project, funded by SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking, which focuses on evaluating factors that influence citizens’ acceptance of Urban Air Mobility (UAM).

Over the following months project news, publications, and outputs will be available on the official project webpage at and distributed via the project's social media channels on LinkedIn and X. For more on U-space, visit


Stay tuned as this project will establish Europe as an international leader in sustainable aviation!



The ImAFUSA project partners are:

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This project is co-funded by the European Union under Grant Agreement No. 101114776 and supported by the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking and its founding members.​ Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or SESAR 3 JU. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.​

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