Verity Studios’ New Software Algorithm Improves Safety and Reliability of Drones

Verity Studios AG, a company specializing in autonomous drones, has recently introduced an integration program for its advanced Failsafe technology for quadcopters.

Drone carrying a package in Failsafe mode after a propulsion system failure (Image credit: Verity Studios AG)

The Failsafe solution is patented, and offers cost-effective and robust safety improvements to any commercial and consumer quadcopter drone platform. Through this program, drone manufacturers can effortlessly implement the Failsafe algorithm within their drones, either as a complementary or standalone safety solution to protect against propulsion system failures—which are considered as the most common cause of system-error crashes.

Quadrotors are the vast majority of commercial and consumer drones being operated today. Thanks to their overall efficiency, these drones have been extensively adopted. Although a majority of technological breakthroughs have been made to enhance the operational safety of aircrafts, like automatic obstacle avoidance and “return to home” features, most of the present-day technical failures are the result of a failure in the propulsion system (that is, the loss of a propeller, a motor, or a motor controller). This represented a major technological challenge, which has not been resolved by even the largest firms in the drone sector. Against traditional engineering analysis, the Verity team successfully used an algorithm-only solution to demonstrate how a quadrotor can be safely controlled and landed following a loss of one, or even two, of its propulsion systems.

The Failsafe algorithm by Verity Studios offers the first line of defense against failures related to propulsion systems at little to no cost to consumers, considerably boosting the reliability and safety of any type of quadrotor. When a propulsion system failure occurs in a Failsafe-enabled drone, the craft remains in the air and does not spin out of control and crash to the ground; it uses sophisticated algorithms to stabilize itself. Afterward, the drone can be safely guided to a suitable landing site. To date, this kind of disaster mitigation has never been implemented or accomplished by manufacturers, making customers to pay for costly retrofit systems, for example, parachutes, in an effort to make their drones safer.

This is considered to be a crucial time in the drone sector. Earlier in January, the FAA recommended a major reduction to the limitations of flying drones at night and over people, further demonstrating a future “sky full of drones” transporting people, gathering data, and delivering goods. However, regulators can distinctly see that present-day drones continue to pose safety challenges, and a number of commercial manufacturers are exploring sophisticated solutions to address these issues and allow the sustainable development of this sector. The present state of regulation and adoption of drones emphasizes the dire need for drone makers to exploit all available technologies so as to guarantee the safe operations of their drones; both at scale and fully autonomously.

Through a simple firmware update, Verity Studios’ Failsafe algorithm can be applied to prevailing quadcopters being flown presently. This solution is based on a code, does not need any extra hardware, and does not add any weight to the system, rendering it the highest efficiency and lowest cost risk-mitigation feature presently available on the market.

Headed by robotics and AI expert Raffaello D’Andrea and initially created to fly 2 lb. quadcopters on Broadway, this technology was demonstrated by the Verity team in more than 7,000 flights over people. Verity Studios is currently providing its Failsafe algorithm to all drone manufacturers via custom integration. The company also offers a reference design on PX4 with the Pixhawk autopilot, streamlining the implementation process for drone makers.

The industry-first technology of Verity Studios provides the most effective solution for reliable and safe flights without affecting payload capacity and flight time. Improving drone safety with Failsafe technology is a major step in ushering the future of air-taxis, drone delivery, autonomous drone inspections, and the development of the overall drone sector.

With more drones populating our skies every day, we feel a responsibility to make the safety measures we’ve created available to the industry at large. We are excited to see the impact as drone manufacturers adopt this critical safety measure.

Raffaello D’Andrea, CEO and Founder, Verity Studios, and Co-Founder of Amazon Robotics.

I’ve seen enough drones from every major brand fall out of the sky due to a propulsion system failure to know that if we can solve this issue with a simple firmware update, drone manufacturers should be jumping at the opportunity to implement Verity’s Failsafe algorithm.

Colin Guinn, Founder of Guinn Partners, and Former CEO of DJI North America.

The failsafe technologies developed by Verity’s exceptional team were the main trigger for our investment. We are delighted and determined to support Verity in making this technology widely available.

Matthieu Repellin, Investment Partner, Airbus Ventures.

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