NASA is working on new technology that may make drones safer to fly. Drones need to be able to avoid accidents with airplanes, need to know how to react to sudden weather changes and what is required in case of malfunction of the flying system.
Drone delivering package with Defibrillator
Safe2Ditch is the new NASA technology invented by Trish and Lou Glaab from Langley. The primary goal of this technology is helping drones understand situations in which they are not working properly. With this technology as soon as drone starts to malfunction it will seek for safe landing place and land automatically.
Safe2Ditch uses algorithms that detect problems like battery failure or motor problems. Actually, anything that is requiring emergency landing is monitored and in that scenario will land the drone. Safe2Ditch can calculate emergency of landing if it needs to happen instantly, then the drone will seek landing place immediately. But the software will use all kind of calculations. If the problem is not big, then the drone may fly for some time, and some of the drone functions may be repurposed by Safe2Ditch to stabilize aircraft.
Prototype software was tested at Langley by NASA, and first tests were successful. The whole device just had few ounces, and every drone will be able to carry this safety system. The system is a circuit board that is attached to the drone, and by using drone hardware can determine situations that require an emergency landing. Langley team is looking to license the software to UAV avionics companies which may integrate the system into their software.
Safe2Ditch is the system that many drone pilots, drone using companies are looking for. For example, this system may help drone package or mail deliveries come true. Some departments like police, medical department or firefighters may use drones with the Safe2Ditch system on a daily basis without fear that drone may crash on someone’s head or produce additional accidents. With this system in play drone future is bright, because nobody would allow malfunction drones to fly over people’s head. Trough the young drone history we have witnessed many accidents that did not have a fatal ending, but this may change with the number of drones over people heads rapidly increasing. Because of that rapidly growing drones in the sky, we need a system that will guarantee safety for the people on the ground.