Above: Brazilian Aviation inspectors inspect Speedbird’s drone and the Para-Zero’s parachute
The Brazilian Speedbird Aero has received approval from the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil to operate delivery drones in two experimental routes in Sao Paulo. Speedbird’s drones are equipped with the safety system of the Israel based Para-Zero, which includes a parachute and a control system that ensure a safe landing of the drone in cases of loss of control, malfunction or collision. As part of the approval process, the Brazilian Aviation Authority conducted tests designed to ensure the safety of operating Speedbird drones in crowded urban areas.
The pilot is expected to begin in December 2020. One of the routes is about a mile long and the drones will fly in it beyond the operator’s line of sight. Lately, Para-Zero’s customers have been granted flight permits by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to fly autonomous, remotely controlled drones beyond the operator’s line of sight. In addition, Hensel Phelps, one of the largest construction companies in the United States, received a permit to fly drones over crowds of people, as part of its employment of drones over construction sites during working hours.
Para-Zero’s system includes two main components: An autonomous control system that can detect emergencies in which the drone loses control, whether due to a malfunction, collision, or weather conditions, as well as due to deviating from the area allowed for flight. In such cases, the system takes control of the drone and shuts down the motor in order to prevent dangerous damage to power cables or people. Following this, the system activates the parachute, which allows for a slow and controlled landing on the ground.
Para-Zero was founded in 2012 by Brigadier General (Res.) Eden Atias, a former pilot and squadron commander in the Israeli Air Force; Amir Tsaliah, who serves as the company’s chief science officer; and Oren Aviram, who serves as the company’s VP of marketing. The company says its system can ensure the safe landing of both a drone hovering at low altitudes of 6.5 feet, as well as heavyweight drones, that weigh up to 730 lbs and hover at an altitude of over 30 feet.