Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Parachute System | Engineering Clinic


Project Code: 17078
Project Title: Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Parachute System
Project Type: Invention/Business School
Project Intellectual Property: Company Controlled
Project Citizenship Restriction: No

Project Details

Sponsor Company: Pete Lauderdale II
Description: Project goal: To design a fully autonomous parachute system for an unmanned aircraft system in distress. The design required trade-offs between material and system performance. Iterative testing established the most effective ejection method, and mathematical models determined the appropriate parachute size to meet the requirement for descent rate. Microcontroller firmware was written to filter and analyze the real-time sensor data. If the unmanned aircraft system exceeds manufacturer-specified flight envelope limits, the spring-loaded system rapidly ejects a parachute. The electronics package uses off-the-shelf sensor components and a commonly used microcontroller. The parachute is made of thin rip-stop nylon strung with a combination of nylon and paracord. The entire system is contained in a custom plastic enclosure mounted to the unmanned aircraft system. A functioning prototype was built using 3-D printed components. The design is based on the commercially available DJI Phantom, but is scalable for larger and heavier models and differing impact speeds.