One concern associated with the increasing number of drones in our skies is that one of them may fall and smash onto some poor unsuspecting person’s head.
It’s not a totally irrational fear. After all – while not common, various freak occurrences such as violent winds or catastrophic system failures can cause a drone to plummet. While small drones could definitely hurt you, heavier UAV models weighing upwards of fifteen pounds, falling from dozens of feet in the air could cause significant damage to property or easily crack someone’s skull.
What’s the solution?
Fortunately there are companies thinking of this issue. Austrian company Drone Rescue Systems have just demonstrated their new line of multi-copter parachutes in Frankfurt. The three parachutes they displayed were the DRS-5, the DRS-10 and the DRS-M600, each designed with larger drone models in mind. The DRS-5 can holds up to 18 lbs (8 kg), the DRS-10 is for drones weighing between 11 and 44 lbs (5 and 20 kg) while the DRS-M600 is designed specifically for the DJI Matrice 600. The Matrice 600 is a high-end drone for professional aerial photography or industrial applications.
The parachute system works as follows:
Parachutes for each drone are stored in a small carbon cage and sensors are fitted to the drone that operate independently from the drone’s core functions. If the sensors detect the drone is falling or unresponsive, the parachute will deploy almost instantly. Simultaneously, the system shuts down the drone’s power to avoid any tangles and the drone floats gently back to earth (hopefully avoiding getting stuck in any trees or on the edge of a building). The parachute is designed to operate best at higher altitudes and takes around 26 feet (8 meters) to fully open.
The Matrice 600 parachute system is particularly interesting includes a black box flight data recorder, similar to those on commercial airplanes which will keep track of every movement the drone makes. This could be particularly useful for companies if they make insurance claims for damage to their drones.
These products are priced at a level that will primarily appeal to business owners or industrial firms who could risk legal liability, if their drones were to fall on someone’s noggin. Would you want a parachute for your drone?
Check out the products in action in the video below: