This survey drone takes safety seriously

The drone has three redundant GPS systems, eight propellers with independent motors, and a ballistic parachute

New Zealand-based drone manufacturer Altus Intelligence wants to make sure its US$39,000 survey drones don't end up as rubble.

Most of Altus' customers use its flagship drone, the Long Range Extreme Weather (LRX), for construction and engineering surveying/mapping and expect a rugged, dependable vehicle to get the job done. That's where the LRX's three separate fail-safe systems come in.

The first is a triple auto pilot design, meaning that if anything goes wrong with one of the GPS streams, the other two will take over.  The LRX is also armed with eight staggered propellers. Each is controlled by a separate motor, ensuring that the drone will remain in flight even if one fails. These type of redundancy features are something that Intel made a big deal about when the company revealed its Falcon 8+ commercial drone back in October.

But Altus takes drone safety one step farther. 

"We have our own patented ballistic emergency parachute system," says Simon Morris, CEO of Altus Intelligence. "The parachute is the final fail-safe measure. So if all the other redundancies and safety features fail, the parachute is there to catch it."

The system uses compressed air instead of springs or explosives to launch the parachute and can catch the weight of the aircraft from as low as 25 feet, Morris says. The system also ensures the safety of those on the ground. 

I don't see many drones flying above me, but I guess it could be comforting to know that if they ever do, they won't be dropping on my head at full speed. 

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