Drones are incredible tools for capturing unique images, but they are susceptible to lost signals, crashes, and other calamities that can hurt your wallet or, worse, someone else. Drone pilots looking to add another layer of safety to the already impressive features on their vehicle will be excited to hear about the latest announcement out of Xponential 2018.
ParaZero recently announced it is adding parachutes for DJI Phantom and Mavic drones to its lineup of drone safety tools. Speaking at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's Xponential 2018 in Denver, Oren Aviram, the company's chief marketing officer, told the Roswell Flight Test Crew that the SafeAir systems will detect if the drone enters a freefall or excessive roll, at which point it will autonomously stop the vehicle's propellers and deploy the chute.
The company already offers parachutes for larger commercial drone units, such as the Matrice series, but it will make its first foray into the wider segment of the drone market occupied by the Mavic and Phantom beginning this summer. Aviram said the units will cost "several hundred dollars," which isn't cheap, but it could save users the cost of replacing an entire drone.
While the autonomous deployment systems on the SafeAir for the Mavic and Phantom are the same as those on ParaZero's other parachutes, the smaller units offer the added bonus of being repackable by drone users.
Aviram said the SafeAir for Mavic will weight about 100 grams, while the Phantom version will weigh 110 grams. The units will attach to the top of the drones, obviously, for optimal deployment. Aviram said the company's testing didn't detect any degradation of the drone's GPS signal, despite sitting on top of the GPS sensor.
ParaZero will also add parachutes for the DJI Matrice 200, though Aviram noted the chute will not be repackable by the user. Instead, he said users will have to bring a deployed chute to a certified DJI retailer, which will replace the chute "at minimal cost," though, again, he did not offer specific pricing.
Aviram said the chutes will make it more practical and safer for drone pilots to fly above crowds, construction sites, or emergency situations.
The parachutes are good news for users, but they may make the always entertaining drone crash videos, such as this one, a little harder to come by on YouTube.
At a cost of "several hundred dollars," do the new chutes interest you? Or do you trust the safety systems already in place on your DJI drone? Drop a comment below.