This California Company’s Parachutes Could Save Your Drone’s Life

The ‘MARS Parachute’ is easily packed and strapped onto your drone, and automatically deploys if its ‘mayday system’ detects a malfunction.

byMarco Margaritoff|
This California Company’s Parachutes Could Save Your Drone’s Life

If you’ve ever had a drone malfunction in mid-air and had to watch your precious UAV drop out of the sky like a brick, you’ve felt a sense of inevitability and helplessness. It’s this exact moment of needless acceptance that California-based company Mars Parachutes is trying to save us from. MARS, or 'Multi-Rotor Aerial Recovery System', makes parachutes for a variety of consumer drones—chutes which deploy automatically, using a fairly sophisticated system.

According to WeTalkUAV, MARS chutes were designed largely around DJI drones, but they function with almost any consumer UAV on the market. The Mars Phantom 4 Lite package, which as of now only functions with the titular DJI Phantom 4, includes a ‘Mayday’ system alongside its chute. This system will immediately deploy the chute as soon as things go wrong. Though the technical aspects seem like common sense, the functionality is still impressive.

The Mayday system is comprised of 3-axis gyro and 3-axis accelerometer systems, and a barometer. This triumvirate works in tandem to detect any malfunction to tell the chute when to deploy. If there’s a motor malfunction—the chute deploys. Is the drone suddenly upside down? The chute deploys. Is the UAV in free fall? You got it—the chute deploys. 

Perhaps the most important trait of a MARS chute is that it’s reusable. They’re easily repacked and reused as long as their structural integrity is in tact. Added to that, if you’re feeling extra paranoid, you can strap more than one of these onto your previous UAV. But how reliable are they? 

In case you’re wondering how much grief you could be saving yourself simply by attaching a MARS parachute to your drone, have a look at the graph below.

Impact Force comparison chart., MARS Parachutes Inc.

According to WeTalkUAV, Mars is currently in the early stages of creating a manual version of their chute deployment system. The NOVA, as it will be called, will apparently be available to fund or purchase on Kickstarter. In addition, parachute systems for the DJI Mavic and the DJI Phantom 4 Pro are on the company's production schedule. 

Now, if you’re a casual drone user who flies rarely and carefully, you might forego a purchase like this. But if you use your UAV regularly or take risks to get that one beautiful shot from 300 feet up, you may want to consider. getting one of these. In the end, you could save your drone’s life...and thereby save your wallet in the long run