3D Robotics

Drone parachute project on Kickstarter

3689648397?profile=originalOn Kickstarter now:

SmartChutes is an intelligent parachute system that has been designed specifically for the multicopter platform (patent pending). The SmartShoot system contains an integrated gyroscope and accelerometer that is able to determine when the multicopter has experienced an in-flight emergency.

 (The SmartChute's flight sensor classifies free fall, tumbles, or flips as an in-flight emergency.)

When an emergency is detected, the SmartChutes system will launch a large 36" parachute automatically, with no input required from the pilot. 

The SmartChutes system comes with its very own lightweight battery, ensuring that the SmartChute system will operate even under total power loss of the multicopter. 

PLEASE NOTE: The final SmartChutes parachute deployment canister that you will receive will be much smaller and lighter than the prototype pictured. The final parachute deployment canister will have a length of 4.25" a diameter of 1.5" and be made of carbon fiber. It will be 30% smaller than the prototype pictured. The SmartChutes system will not interfere with normal camera or gimbal placement.

In conventional solutions, where a user must manually press a button or flip a switch to deploy a parachute, the deployment of a parachute is entirely dependent on the user's ability of recognizing an emergency and deploying the parachute in time.

If the user is not fast enough to visually detect an inflight emergency, and subsequently press the correct button on the transmitter to deploy a parachute, the multicopter will most likely be damaged. 

In the event of total power failure of the multicopter, you are helpless. Most conventional parachute recovery systems run off the multicopter's battery. In such a scenario, all you can do is watch helplessly as your multicopter comes crashing down to earth.

This is where SmartChutes comes in. The SmartChutes flight sensor can detect an inflight emergency almost immediately, and subsequently deploy a parachute in a relatively small amount of time, thereby greatly improving the chances of a successful recovery at low altitude where every second is precious. This system also works in the event of total battery failure of the multicopter. 

All SmartChute systems come with an integrated battery, ensuring that the system will operate and deploy a parachute, even in the event of total power failure of the multicopter.

1. Turn your flight sensor ON

Turn on your SmartChutes Flight Sensor and wait 15 seconds while it initializes. A green LED will flash for 15 seconds. Once the green LED stops flashing, you are ready to fly!

2. Fly above 50 meters 

The SmartChutes system can detect an emergency and deploy a parachute in less than 350ms, but the parachute still requires time to open. For this reason, it's best to fly above 50 meters to allow the parachute to fully deploy if necessary. 

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  • Developer

    It's very reasonably priced at $130 ~ $150.

  • Nice simple design.

    Great use for old bed springs!

    I fear the admonition to fly above 50 meters to allow time for chute deployment and to effectively slow descent seriously limits it's utility although I do understand it's necessity.

    I am also afraid that I fear that the number of people who are willing to pay for this capability at this time may be smaller than the number of people required to meet the Kickstarter goal.

    In the long run I think this is a great idea and it appears to be a very practical implementation.

    I do think you need to incorporate a mechanism that cuts power to the motors and having an emergency button you could push that would launch the chute from the transmitter (or better a separate transmitter) could be a real asset (heading out to sea for instance) or just loss of RC or pilot control.

    Best of luck,


  • How does it disable the propellers? (Because it must, the props will cut the chute lines much faster than the operator can kills the throttle and allow them to spool down.)

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