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Onyx precision guided parachutes


If you've ever fallen out of a plane before (or perhaps been pushed, not that we're bitter or anything), you might've realized that while hitting the ground isn't usually hard to manage, hitting a particular area of ground can be rather difficult. Even more so with unmanned cargo drops, which can land miles from their unintended drop point due to winds or a mis-timed release. Well, Atair Aerospace is bringing some hot "flocking" technology of theirs to bear on the problem, which allows you to deploy 50 or more cargo parachutes in the same airspace, from as high as 35,000 feet, and have them all autonomously glide for as far as 30 miles before landing within 50 meters of a preprogrammed target. The "Onyx" parachutes have parafoil systems to direct themselves, and the flocking and "Active Collision Avoidance" technologies allow the robotic parachutes to communicate with each other and avoid messy accidents. Altair was awarded a $3.2 million contract by the US Army to supply Onyx systems, slightly out-doing our bid of $5.95 and half a box of French fries to use the system for automatic tradeshow schwag deployment.

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