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Flying drones over crowds of people can be dangerous, and from now on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will require a permission to do so. The permission entails the installation of a parachute system for drones that fly over crowds.
The first case where the system was required was for CNN’s Snap Drone produced by Vantage Robotics. Back in 2017 Indemnis and DJI worked together to develop a parachute system that would be approved by the FAA.
Indemnis and DJI announced that the Indemnis Nexus parachute system for the DJI Inspire 2 drone has been validated as compliant with the new international standard for drone parachutes.
This breakthrough in reliable parachute technology for small drones opens a wide range of new possibilities for professional drone operators intending to demonstrate that they can safely and reliably fly over people as well as sensitive locations.
Indemnis, based in Anchorage, Alaska, joined DJI in a safety partnership in 2017 to develop industry parachute standards as well as a parachute system that can deploy instantly if a drone encounters flight anomalies, reducing the potential energy of any impact on the ground.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits most drone operations directly over people as a safety precaution. Professional drone operators can apply for a waiver from that restriction if they can demonstrate they have robust safety mitigations in place. The Indemnis system is intended to be the core of a parachute-based safety mitigation plan for a waiver, and can also help provide one path forward for advanced operations as the FAA considers how to allow routine flights directly over people.
“Indemnis has tested our parachute systems in thousands of real-world unplanned failure scenarios, and NUAIR’s validation of our work is an exciting step toward making professional drone operations over people safe, routine and productive,” said Amber McDonald, Indemnis President/CEO.
Nexus is a ballistic parachute launcher, triggered automatically if the drone suddenly begins tilting abnormally or falling. It deploys the parachute within 30 milliseconds at 90 mph, through a tube that rapidly inflates to keep the parachute lines away from the drone body and propellers. Indemnis offers the Nexus package today for the Inspire 2, and intends to offer it for Matrice 200 series and Matrice 600 series drones by late 2019.
NUAIR Alliance, which manages one of the FAA-designated test sites for drone technologies at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York, put the Indemnis Nexus through 45 functionality tests across five different failure scenarios last month during four days of testing. Those tests validated that the Nexus on the Inspire 2 complies with the ASTM International F3322-18 Standard Specification For Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) Parachutes. DJI, Indemnis, the FAA and other industry stakeholders collaborated on developing the ASTM consensus standard, which was finalized late last year after more than a year of work.