In an emergency, this drone will sail to the ground on a parachute

IDG News Service | Nov 22, 2016

The LRX drone by Altus Intelligence is built to be fool-proof, equipped with a number of redundant systems and a parachute when all else fails.

For Altus’s LRX survey drone, safety comes first.

The Altus LRX drone is a workhorse. It can carry up payloads of up to 26 pounds, cover over 200 acres of land, and withstand winds of up to 45 miles per hour.

Originally devised for a New Zealand police force, the LRX was designed to be dependable. Case in point…the set of three independent autopilot units on top of the drone’s upper deck.

“It’s a true voting system, so if anything goes wrong with one particular stream, any component on that stream, then the other two can outvote it and say, ‘Well, we are gonna reject your information and then continue with the good data that we’re receiving.’” – Morris

Another fail-safe of the drone: the eight staggered propellers, each of which is run by an independent motor, ensuring that the LRX remains stable even if one rotor fails.

But the most remarkable safety feature is located in this cylinder on the drone’s top deck. (vid of parachute)

“We have our own patented ballistic emergency parachute system. It uses compressed air rather than springs or explosives, and it will catch the weight of the aircraft from as low as 25ft. So it deploys really fast, it’s a unique design, it’s very good and will save not only the aircraft, but protect folks on the ground in case anything went wrong with the system.” – Morris

So what’s the price you pay for safety? Around $39 thousand dollars for a ready-to-fly system with batteries and cameras. The company says it’s already sold 50 units, one of which went to CNN for newsgathering operations.

For IDG News Service, I’m Magdalena Petrova in San Jose, California.