ROME — An Alaskan company recently made use of the unmanned aircraft system test site at Griffiss International Airport in Rome for its parachute system for drones.
Indemnis has been working with drone company DJI since 2017 to develop industry parachute standards as well as a system that could reduce the speed of a drone before it hits the ground, according to a news release from Indemnis.
The test in Rome was successful, which opens a wide range of new possibilities for professional drone operators who wish to show they can safely and reliably fly over people as well as sensitive locations, the release stated. The test was run by NUAIR Alliance.
''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 and CEO. “DJI’s drone platforms are the clear choice of professionals, and our turnkey packages make it easy for DJI customers to propose advanced, higher-risk operations to regulators around the world.”
The system is triggered automatically if the drone suddenly begins tilting abnormally or falling, the release stated. 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, it said.
As a result of the test, the Indemnis Nexus parachute system for the DJI Inspire 2 drone has been validated as compliant with the new international standard for drone parachutes.
The Federal Aviation Administration prohibits most drone operations directly over people as a safety precaution, the release stated.
Professional drone operators can apply for a waiver from that restriction if they can demonstrate they have robust safety mitigations in place, which is where the parachute system comes into play.
The Indemnis system is intended to be the core of a parachute-based safety mitigation plan for a waiver, and also can help provide one path forward for advanced operations as the FAA considers how to allow routine flights directly over people, the release stated.
''As the FAA works to open more of America’s skies to beneficial drone uses, the certification of the Nexus system on DJI’s platform is a significant step toward making flight over people and crowds routine, expanding the scope of vital applications such as search and rescue, newsgathering, and public safety,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI vice president of policy and legal affairs.