Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2019

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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64  June/July 2019 unmanned systems inside Photo courtesy of Kevin Kropp/Mars Parachutes. by Charles Q. Choi I f drones experience problems in f light, they pose potential dangers to anything or anyone they might crash into. Now a new international standard for drone parachutes could bolster safety and expand drone usage near people. The new criterion has laid out best practices for the design, fabrication and testing of drone parachutes. Its key aspects include automatic trigger systems to deploy the parachutes and f light termination systems to stop a drone's rotors by any means necessary once a crash is im- minent. Dozens of tests are required to show these chutes work under worst-case scenarios. "We feel this standard can really help the commer- cial drone industry to reach its full potential," said Avi Lozowick, director of policy and strategy at ParaZero in Tel Aviv, Israel. In June, ParaZero announced Federal Aviation Administration (FA A) approval for a first- ever waiver allowing drone f lights over people using ParaZero's parachutes. (See sidebar on page 69.) THE CASE FOR DRONE PARACHUTES If airplanes get into an emergency, "they can glide to some extent, and even helicopters can carry out some- thing similar called autorotation," Lozowick said. "But with multi-rotor drones, if they experience any issue, they basically drop like a stone." In 2017, CNN received a four-year waiver from the FA A by demonstrating it had helped to develop a small unmanned aircraf t system (sUAS) safe enough to f ly over crowds. However, this drone, the Snap, from Vantage Robotics, is relatively light at 1.37 pounds, and New UAS parachute technologies and standards may lead to more and safer fl ights over people. ' Chuting for Drone Safety Drone Chutes Can Safeguard the Skies is unique in that it is designed to break into smaller pieces on impact to reduce injury should it fall on a per- son. Typical drones are not designed for safe impacts upon crashes. "When a 20-pound object falls out of the sky, it is not just hurting someone—it is killing someone," said Alan Erickson, chief technolog y off icer and founder of Indemnis, in Anchorage, Alaska. "As a result, the FA A and other inter nationa l av iation author ities have prohibited commercial f light operations over non-involved people. This risk-averse restriction is preventing grow th of this rapidly evolving industr y, and w ill continue to restrict grow th until there is a reliable fail-safe solution." In addition to protecting life on the ground, para- chutes also can help save drones and their potentially DRONE PARACHUTES Standards and Safety MARS PARACHUTE, DEPLOYED Parachutes with automatic trigger systems, and termination and ejection mechanisms—supported by a testing society's new deployment norms—may advance approval from civil aviation authorities to overfl y populated areas. Flying Over People DEFENSE COMMERCIAL NEXUS

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