Swiss Post has stopped its drone delivery project after one of its drones fell from the sky due to a parachute malfunction landing near children. This is the second crash within the last year and has forced Swiss Post to rethink its drone delivery program, asking Matternet to fix the problems with its drones.
The drone failure consisted of the drone emergency parachute being deployed around 2 minutes after the flight while the parachute was being deployed it got caught on a sharp edge on the drone causing the rope connecting the parachute and drone to fray and giveaway allowing the drone to fall from the sky.
Swiss Post has provided fixes they and upgrades it wants to see from the next version of Matternet’s drones in a press release. In response to the crash, Swiss Post will be implementing a board of experts to help prevent similar events happening in the future. Swiss Post is also now following new wind speed laws to ensure the safety of its drones and people under them.
It is not acceptable to Swiss Post that the safety measures have not worked. Swiss Post expects the manufacturer of the drones to ensure that safety mechanisms such as the parachute work properly. As such, we have asked Matternet to implement various urgent measures:
The parachute ropes are now reinforced with metal braiding.
The parachute will be attached to the drone with two ropes rather than one.
The shrill whistle, which alerts people near the drone when it is making an emergency landing, will be made louder.
A short time later Matternet shared a statement with IEEE Spectrum further explaining the crash and what was done in direct response to the crash.
Swiss Post and Matternet reacted to the incident immediately by grounding all the operations involving this vehicle type. Our experts analyzed the incident and proposed the appropriate mitigation which are being evaluated by FOCA. We will restart operations once Matternet and Swiss Post, FOCA and our hospital customers in Switzerland are satisfied that the appropriate mitigation have been applied.
Although this was quite a serious crash it should not be a drone killer. All new technologies will go through a teething period where issues and bugs need to be ironed out. This will be something all drone delivery companies will learn from and therefore improve their techniques and safety systems which is great for the industry.
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