As drone use continues to expand in close proximity to people and buildings, safety concerns are growing. After receiving a bad cut from a drone, Tobin Fisher, co-founder of Vantage Robotics set out to develop Snap, a safety-first consumer drone.
Beginning with small, lightweight specs, Snap features a number of built-in safety mechanisms. The Formula 1 inspired “MagConnect” architecture sees the propellors attach to the main body via magnets, so if the drone flies into an object, it will separate on impact. The mechanics of this design reduce the overall force of impacts, both protecting the drone and whatever object it has inadvertently flown into. Snap can then be reassembled by simply reconnecting the magnets. The flying blades are also protected in bicycle wheel inspired cages, making them easy to push away while limiting the chance of a cut finger. What’s more, a smart flight assistant technology helps prevent Snap from flying into objects by tracking the user over a diverse terrain. Even if Snap fell straight out of the sky (which is unlikely due to its built-in battery life awareness), at 500 grams overall weight, any damage to a human or object will be minimal.
As drones become more popular for both commercial and consumer use, they may soon change the look of our close-proximity airspace. With regulators rushing to draw up drone guidelines, will built-in safety features such as Snap’s breakaway system become an essential process of drone design?