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Drone Crash Suspends Service as Safety Parachute Fails to Deploy Correctly

Swiss Post’s drone delivery service has been indefinitely suspended after a drone crashed not far from a group of kindergarten children. The program ferries healthcare items like lab samples between hospitals and uses large quadrotor drones made by U.S. company Matternet, launched in 2017 and has made more than 3,000 successful deliveries to date. The drone weighs around 10kg (22 pounds) including a max payload of 2kg (4.5 pound). This is not the first time the service has had a fault on one of its drones. In January 2019 the drone had an issue with its GPS system, but in this case the drone did what it was supposed to which is to stop its rotors and deploy a parachute to glide down to the ground safely. Unfortunately, in this latest incident the single tether connecting the parachute cord to the drone was cut by a sharp part of the drone resulting in a crash landing. They will undoubtedly rectify this design issue to get the drone service up and running again but we feel this highlights the need for parachutes and other safety systems on all commercial drones going forward. Matternet also has a partnership with UPS, and WakeMed Hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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