An interim report into the most recent Swiss Post drone crash has recommended improvements to the parachute and warning system. Swiss Post has announced that it has already taken measures to improve drone safety.
A drone belonging to a Swiss Post medical deliveries programme crashed on May 9 in a Zurich forest – the second crash in four months. It was not carrying any supplies and nobody was hurt, but the drone was totally destroyed.
An interim report by the Swiss Transport Safety Investigation Boardexternal link (STSB), published on Friday, has shed some light on the accident. Around two minutes after taking off, the drone automatically set off its flight termination system and made an emergency landing. The emergency parachute was set off, but the connecting line to the drone tore.
The investigation also found that the warning signal, which goes off at the same time as the parachute is released, was not heard by people nearby. Two kindergarten teachers and children had been close to the accident site.
The exact cause of why the emergency landing was necessary will be the subject of the final report. In the meantime, the STSB has recommended some safety measures: that the parachute rope is more robust and that the warning signal is more audible.
Swiss Post has already stopped all drone flights after the accident until further notice, but on Friday it announced that it was refining its safety processesexternal link. This includes establishing a board of experts to advise Swiss Post on risk and safety management on drone flight operations in the future.
It has also reacted to the safety points raised in the STSB report including reinforcing the parachute ropes and increasing the number to two and making the drone signal louder. It is not acceptable to Swiss Post that the safety measures have not worked, the company said.
“Swiss Post’s aim is to align its risk and safety management with normal aviation standards,” it added in a statement.
Nevertheless, the company wants to continue to pioneer drone technology as it believes that drones can make an important contribution to efficient healthcare.