South African mine to add parachutes to their drones

There will be accidents involving drones on premises and other sites where drones will be deployed.

But those accidents will not be because of lack of care on the drone operators’ part.

Well; at least not the operators that would have invested in extra safety systems, like one South African mine has done.

According to a statement from Delta Drone International, the drones-as-a-service provider has scored a major breakthrough with a mine in South Africa for the supply of drone parachute systems to be mounted on the mine’s drones while they are at work.

The drones will be provided by Delta Drone’s subsidiary, ParaZero Safety Systems, which makes parachute systems that prevent drones from directly crashing violently to the ground in case of system failure when airborne, and possibly hurting people.

“The company, which cannot be named for commercial and security reasons, will deploy ParaZero’s SafeAir at scale to enhance its drone safety practises, with the technology comprising independent sensors to constantly monitor and analyse a drone’s flight patterns, so in the unlikely event of a drone failure, a parachute is automatically activated to land safely – including over people and moving vehicles,” read the Delta Drone statement in part.

With the advantage of being able to be repackaged and reused (if you can find all the displaced parts), the SafeAir parachute runs independently of the drone; it will not draw power or anything from the bird. All it will do is save the drone from crashing if it fails while in the air.

And this it does by activating independent sensors to constantly monitor and analyse the drone’s flight data and flight patterns. Once critical drone failures are identified, they trigger a series of safety measures at unmatched speed: Power to motors is terminated to avoid laceration injuries and entanglement with the parachute’s cords. The parachute’s canopy is immediately opened, aided by a ballistic parachute launcher, to deploy the parachute in a fraction of a second. A buzzer will start sounding the alarm, warning people below about the incoming danger, giving them ample time to move out of harm’s way.

The drone is guided safely to ground (at least at a much slower speed than it would have fallen on, had it been hurtling freely to the ground on a free-fall), avoiding injuries to bystanders and damage to equipment and payload.

A post-flight report will be created to analyse the incident using data stored in the parachute’s black box.

ParaZero has in its repertoire the SafeAir 350 parachute system, which is compatible with most commercial drones; but there are other safe crash-landing units made specifically for drones like the DJI M300, M200, M600, the Mavic and the Phantom.

The average lowest unit cost for a parachute for the bigger drones is $3,400, while the package for the smaller drones is $499. The remote control for manual deployment is sold separately for $500.

“Leveraging the contacts of our largest shareholder, Delta Drone in France to sign ParaZero’s first customer contract in South Africa moves us a step closer to achieving our goal of becoming a truly international drones-as-a-service provider,” said Christopher Clark, CEO of Delta Drone International. “Ensuring our customers’ inhouse drone systems not only comply but exceed the most stringent safety standards set by the world’s civil aviation regulators is of the utmost importance to our business and is a testament to our research and development team who consistently work to create the newest innovations in drone safety technology.

“As the world continues to further embrace drone technology, we will continue to play a leading role in helping the drone industry ensure safety and compliance through our patented safety solutions.”

And if you wish to know more about the Delta Drone’s Parachute workings, the company will be speaking at the Drones and Unmanned Aviation Conference on June 24 and 25 in Johannesburg. You can book your seat here.


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