Commercial, Safety

New Safety Technology ‘Parachutes’ Drones From the Sky

By Amy Kluber | August 30, 2018
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Drone Rescue Systems parachute

Drone Rescue Systems parachute. Photo courtesy of Drone Rescue Systems

A new safety enhancement that aims to minimize damage to unmanned aircraft and bystanders in the event of a crash or system failure is now available for some commercial drones.

Austrian company Drone Rescue Systems developed the system to provide a safety net for drone users to prevent damage to expensive onboard technologies, including cameras and sensors, according to a company press release.

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The system comprises what the company calls an "intelligent parachute" that provides for a safe drone landing. This would prevent a drone from crashing and possibly damaging or destroying expensive systems or injuring bystanders.

"The rescue system is already much more than just a parachute," said Drone Rescue Systems CTO and co-founder Markus Manninger. "It contains a lot of electronics, including sensors, with which the flight status of a drone can be self-monitored, independent of the flight controller."

The system releases the parachute automatically when it detects a system failure, like a lost radio link, making it a valuable feature to have for pilots flying drones beyond line of sight, Manninger said. The safety feature can function even if the drone experiences a power supply failure, he said.

Manninger and co-founder Andreas Ploier have been developing the rescue system since 2015. The company has grown to 15 employees at its office in Graz, Austria.

The system is currently targeted for any multi-copter drones weighing up to 25 kg. Manninger said the company is working on a similar rescue system for drones of heavier weight classes.

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