Thursday, 01 November 2018 10:02

Israeli firm develops safety system for commercial drone use

ParaZero chief executive Eden Attias with a drone. ParaZero chief executive Eden Attias with a drone. Supplied

An Israeli firm has developed a real-time safety system for commercial drones known as SafeAir, and listed on the ASX as it begins the process of trying to market its solution around the world.

Eden Attias, the chief executive of ParaZero, who was in Melbourne this week, told iTWire that the use of drones in a multitude of industries was slowly building up and in a few years the safety industry would be worth something in the region of US$2 billion.

A former brigadier-general in the Israel Air Force, Attias said one obstacle in the way of drones being used commercially was the fear that it was not safe to fly them above crowds.

He said ParaZero had demonstrated that there was no danger to people by flying drones above people in the US state of North Dakota just a month ago, after gaining approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

ParaZero's safety equipment is attached to the top of the drone and uses various parameters to judge what should be done while the drone is in flight.

parazero two

The SafeAir safety system atop a commercial drone. Courtesy ParaZero

Attias said the company had developed algorithms that made the judgment of what behaviour should be adopted, depending on the environmental variables at a given time.

The end game was to safely land the drone in the event that conditions became unfavourable for it to fly above populated areas or people, or if extended flight would cause a malfunction.

The safety solution had a parachute which was deployed in the event that the drone had to land; ParaZero has a patent on the way the deployment of the parachute occurs.

Attias said the design and technical work was all done in Israel. The company has a distributor in Australia.

ParaZero's solution is meant for drones that weigh at least 1.2kg, Attias said, which ruled out its use for what he described as "toy drones" – the little ones that can be bought online for personal amusement.

But he said ParaZero would be developing a version of SafeAir for consumer drones and hoped to have it available by Christmas.

At least one trial has been run in Australia by another company, Alphabet's Project Wing, to test delivery by drones to remote parts of the country.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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