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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66  June/July 2019 unmanned systems inside Photos courtesy of Fruity Chutes and Indemnis. even when there is no emergency, Lozowick said. "We ask different pilots to go crazy, to see if they can make the parachute deploy when it should not." Drone parachute systems are typically made as light- weight as possible. "They usually affect f light time by two to four minutes," Lozowick said. The minimum altitude the parachute should deploy at depends on the size of the chute, which depends on the size of the drone. When it comes to Fruity Chutes, "for a DJI Mavic Pro or Mavic 2, we would say somewhere above 60 to 70 feet, while for a 200-kilogram system, we would want 250 to 300 feet minimum," Engelgau said. Most drone parachutes are round to maximize drag and minimize weight, Engelgau said. Parachutes with more oblong shapes, he noted, can act like airfoils to help make them steerable, but they are heavier and more complex. When it comes to where the parachute should fit on the drone, there is "no single correct place," Engelgau said. "A lot of them obviously sit in the center sticking straight up, but there might not be a mounting point there on certain models. It is possible to actually put it facing dow nward—once you have a drone failure, it is moving ballistically, f lipping in every sort of direction imaginable, so it doesn't mat- ter which direction the parachute launches as long as it is away from the drone." Putting the parachute on the bottom "so the drone lands upside down might not be a bad idea, if a little counter-intuitive," Engelgau said. "If you are f lying a LiDAR that costs $100,000, landing upright with the LiDAR on the bottom might not be the best idea; land- ing on the rotors might not be so bad, as they are often actually pretty darn strong." Still, one advantage of having a parachute open on top of a drone "is that…early results have shown that a drone's landing gear is much softer than the body of a drone," Lozowick said. "If a human is hit by the landing gear, it could cause less injury, adding a little bit to the safety case." Lozowick noted that Para Zero's systems "include an audio warning buzzer, so it makes a lot of noise on the way down to warn people to move out of the way. The buzzer alone is not effective, but we have found that it is super-effective when combined w ith a parachute, which gives people seven to 10 seconds to move out of the way." THE ORIGINS OF THE DRONE PARACHUTE INDUSTRY Many drone parachute companies be- gan in ver y dif ferent f ields, which has g ra nted them dif ferent streng ths in this emerging industr y. For instance, Engelgau "started off in high-powered hobby rocketry—I've f lown rock- ets in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada over 100,000 feet. We needed parachutes for rockets to help them come down safely for recovery, and we just organical- FRUITY CHUTES WITH MARS AUTO-TRIGGERING A DJI Mavic Pro with a Fruity Chutes parachute system and a drone-side view of a deployed parachute. "The standard is vitally important to expanding the industry safely and ensuring that one bad accident does not ruin the reputation for all commercial drone operators." Alan Erickson, chief technology offi cer and founder of Indemnis DRONE PARACHUTES Standards and Safety Flying Over People DEFENSE COMMERCIAL NEXUS

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