Can a hobby drone by itself kill a person? Not an armed, military drone; those we already know can kill humans, and have done so in the thousands, but an off-the-shelf, commercial drone, without any additional armament. Even with the historical precedent, Mythbusters set out to see if spinning quadcopter blades are strong enough to cut flesh.
Watch them send a spinning quadcopter blade through the body of an already-dead chicken below:
Fast-spinning blades, when pressed into a soft body, tend to cause damage. The gash they carve into already-dead chicken shows the potential for serious harm, though in the wild it wouldn’t necessarily play out this way: wild birds have attacked drones and brought them down, and escaped seemingly without injury.
Chicken flesh isn’t a perfect analog to human tissue. Ballistic gelatin is a lot closer, and thanks to its transparency frequently used for demonstrating bullet impacts. Since that clarity isn’t needed to show cuts, next time Mythbusters decides to show a drone blade slicing, they could follow the example of this German-made stabbing robot and use a pig carcass instead.