Today’s high security standards require inclusion of many and, at times, redundant sensors. Third Element Aviation’s ConVecDro for example has three IMUs (inertial measurement units), three Gyroscopes and two compass sensors (magnetometers) to protect the system from wrong sensor input. Further it also features a coprocessor that can take over the basic flight controller functions, if the main unit should fail.
The next step in aviation safety therefore is to run parallel autopilots that are not identical, to avoid failures due to malfunction both in the individual unit and in the general code of it. This and other projects aiming to bring more safety of operation to drones open up new applications.
In many industrial applications, the drone failing is a huge hazard to overall safety. In making more components redundant or in providing failsafe modes, drones can qualify for operations in mid and high safety zones, e.g. in chemical plants, in rescue operations or in urban scenarios, just like today’s civil aviation.
Third Element Aviation will continue to find ways of identifying and managing these risk potential, with the ambitious target of a 100% safe system.