Crucial to safety and risk mitigation, common drone recovery systems include parachutes, automated docking stations, return-to-home (RTH) capabilities, and soft landing options that minimize damage to the drone. Landing gear is also a basic form of drone recovery.
RTH is an automated function that uses GPS coordinates to return the drone to a predefined point in the case of lost connection or low battery levels. Nets can be employed to capture drones mid-air. Popular in the military, UAV recovery using arresting gear involves the use of a cable or mechanism to rapidly decelerate the UAV upon landing.
UAV Parachute Recovery Systems
Drone parachute recovery system by AVSS
Drone parachutes are a popular form of drone recovery that can safely bring a drone to the ground in case of malfunction, preventing both damage to the drone, and potential harm to people and property. Deployed either passively or ballistically, UAV parachute recovery systems can mitigate the risks associated with drone flights, especially in populated areas.
Passive systems are usually used on fixed-wing UAVs that are in constant forward flight. They are deployed by opening a hatch and letting the wind catch a smaller parachute that drags out the main parachute deployment bag.
Ballistic UAV parachutes depend on either a mechanical spring or a gas such as CO2 to deploy the parachute. Spring systems are simple and lightweight, but are limited in the amount of energy that can be stored. Gas-powered systems exert a lot of force, but due to the pressurization, cannot be transported on commercial aircraft. Some gas-powered systems use a pyrotechnic charge, which again limits their use due to certain regulations.
Tracking Technology – Drone and UAV tracking technologies can be useful aspect of drone recovery systems, should an aerial system fail and then require location.