NASA scientists have developed a new software that will help drones automatically spot the best places to crash-land in case of an emergency, without hurting anyone on the ground. Increasing numbers of drones in the sky raises the risk to people and property below being hit when these unmanned aerial vehicles develop mechanical problems.
Now, Patricia Glaab, an aerospace technologist at NASA Langley Research Centre in the US, and colleagues have developed a crash-landing software for drones. During eight test flights, the technology successfully spotted safer landing sites such as swamps or drainage ditches to crash instead of cars or people on the ground, Glaab said.The software links on-board drone components like batteries and motors to monitor their health, ‘Fortune.com’ reported.
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The technology identifies when something on the drone goes wrong, and puts the aerial vehicles in a crash-landing mode.When triggered, the software checks a pre-installed database of nearby safe zones that it can then pilot itself towards.
The software also incorporates technology that lets drones recognise and avoid objects on the ground using on-board cameras, Glaab said.Businesses increasingly use drones for things like inspecting rooftops or power lines, raising the risk of in-flight mechanical and software problems that could put people below in danger.