Back in 2017, Alaska-based Indemnis partnered with DJI to develop parachute standards and systems that could be deployed in an instant, protecting valuable multi-rotor cargo and, of course, whoever or whatever is unlucky enough to be directly underneath should an issue occur.
Today, Indemnis and DJI have announced that the Nexus parachute system for the Inspire 2 drone has been validated as compliant with the new international standard for drone parachutes. The announcement follows a strenuous testing procedure at the New York UAS Test Site in Rome, N.Y. managed by NUAIR.
On December 22, 2018 Indemnis successfully passed the ASTM F3322-18 standard testing matrix. The technical standard is designed to enable safe flight operations over people on small unmanned aerial vehicles while using a parachute as a risk mitigation device. The Nexus is the first and only parachute recovery system in the world to become certified and compliant in meeting the requirements of the standard.
The standard specification is made up of 45 functionality tests across 5 different failure scenarios. Each is designed to validate the system’s deployment and canopy inflation within the full flight envelope of the aircraft.
Indemnis opens door to new possibilities for commercial operations
The work of DJI and Indemnis is arguably geared toward proving that drones can safely operate above people and sensitive locations.
A reliable, validated parachute technology like the Nexus, which initiates when flight anomalies are detected, could well become a necessary component of future waivers granted by the FAA.
A statement from DJI says, “The Indemnis system is intended to be the core of a parachute-based safety mitigation plan for a waiver, and can also help provide one path forward for advanced operations as the FAA considers how to allow routine flights directly over people.”
“DJI is pleased to have contributed to the development of technologies and standards that will be used to support advanced, higher-risk operations,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs. “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.”
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“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/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.”
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How Nexus works
Nexus is a ballistic parachute launcher. It’s designed to trigger automatically if the drone begins to abnormally tilt or fall, as would happen in the case of a loss of power or malfunction. The Nexus system 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.
Although the system is currently designed to work with the DJI Inspire 2, Indemnis has confirmed plans to offer it for Matrice 200 series and Matrice 600 series drones by late 2019.
NUAIR Alliance, which manages one of the FAA-designated test sites for drone technologies at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York, put the Indemnis Nexus through 45 functionality tests across five different failure scenarios last month during four days of testing. DJI, Indemnis, the FAA and other industry stakeholders finalized the ASTM consensus standard late last year.
“The NUAIR Alliance is proud to have been a part of helping Indemnis’ transformative technology enter real-world deployment into the National Airspace System on a leading DJI drone platform,” said retired Air Force Major General Marke “Hoot” Gibson, President and CEO of NUAIR Alliance.
“New York is committed to generating growth, jobs and innovation through smart drone investments, and Indemnis’ successful testing process shows how New York plays a key role in accelerating this exciting technology.”