An Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) includes a ground based controller, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV/drone), and a communication system in between the two. The UAS has emerged as an incredibly powerful, versatile tool capable of covering a wide range of applications. These applications may range from military sector to agricultural sector. For example, inspection of onshore/offshore power lines and power plants, aerial photography and videography for advertisement industry, 3D mapping, wildlife monitoring etc. Amazon, for instance, seeks to deploy entire drone fleets in the air to deliver customer orders.
But, as per safety regulations, these drones may not be operated autonomously in the vicinity of homes and crowds until they master safe emergency landing system. This is one of the biggest issues with using drones for various applications. NASA has solved this problem with an improved UAS.
According to the patent document, the disclosed Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) monitors drone’s location and battery status and makes decisions to either let it proceed as planned if no emergency is predicted, or to take control, pick a safe landing site, and execute a landing as gently as possible. A landing site may be considered safe if the site is free from any living being or any other moving object. The UAS uses an on board camera to detect if there is any movement at a potential crash site in order to ascertain if there are people or cars present. The UAS may also store a database of potential sites for safe emergency landing, and are able to choose the ideal landing location based on range, size, type of terrain, and time or day constraints.
In the event of a mechanical failure, or drained battery, the disclosed UAS will enable the drone to land safely, mitigating the risk of injury to people in urban areas.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE?
So what do you think about the improved UAS developed by NASA? Let us know in the comment section.
Publication Number: US20180114450
Patent Title: Autonomous emergency flight management system for an unmanned aerial system
Publication date: 3 Jan 2017
Filing date: 26 Apr 2018
Inventors: Patricia C. Glaab; Louis J. Glaab;
Original Assignee: U.S.A., as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration