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Drones are often equipped with a parachute system as a support in case of failure. A software update of a system that detects failure and triggers a parachute deployment now makes this possible on fixed-wing and VTOL systems, not just multicopters.

With the Sentinel Automatic Trigger System (SATS-MINI)’s software update, the failure detection algorithm features customizable parameters that can be optimized for specific vehicles. 

The SATS-MINI manufactured by Fruity Chutes has six methods of failure detection, including free fall, rotation and absolute angle rotation. The flexible device follows the user’s parameters, with two separate trigger settings available during flight.

The parachute deploys if the vehicle loses altitude too quickly, flips, fails to maintain a specified angle relative to the ground or has other deviations from specified flight envelope parameters.

The updated software also features black box logging parameters. The black box records flights using a real time clock chip that provides the dates and timestamps for events. If there’s a failure, it records when and how that failure occurred, and also logs the flight pattern before and after the event that led to the failure. Through the update, users can configure the logging feature to only be used if the parachute is deployed, which saves room for more than 50,000 flights to be recorded, as reported by