New Drone Parachute Technology Saves Falling Drones

NEW ORLEANS—It’s now possible to prevent the heartbreak, wallet-ache, and risk of physical injuries when consumer drones suddenly plummet from the skies mid-flight. At the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s XPONENTIAL conference, a company called ParaZero is introducing SafeAir, a device that deploys a parachute to safely bring a falling drone back to earth.

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To ensure that the parachute deploys in time to prevent a crash at low altitudes, SafeAir shoots out the chute with a gust of pressurized gas. SafeAir attaches to the top of a drone and uses an independently powered chip to detect when the drone goes into freefall.

According to a company spokesperson, SafeAir has worked with drone manufacturers to develop recovery systems for their drones based on how far it is safe for their drones to fall—including DJI (the makers of the popular Phantom consumer drone), professional photography drone maker 3D Robotics, and Martin Aviation—makers of the JetPack search and rescue small uncrewed aerial system (UAS).

ParaZero also manufactures pyrotechnic-deployed parachutes for larger drones, along with an airbag system for cinematic drones to protect cameras and other expensive gear during an unpowered landing.

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