Drone Services USA earns trademark on magnetic delivery payload

By Luke Geiver | September 03, 2015

What started as a solution for Switzerland-based search and rescue teams (SAR) has become a unique package delivery system for drones. Euan Ramsey, research and development director for Drone Services USA Inc., first came up with the package holding infrastructure after an avalanche in Switzerland required the need of a SAR team. According to Ramsey, conditions created from the avalanche made foot and dog travel unsafe. “The drone was the perfect platform for delivery of beacons, emergency aid and other materials,” he said. 

The avalanche inspired Ramsey to develop a magnetized package holding system that can be turned on or off through an electric signal. The system utilizes special electro permanent magnets. “They only change state when a relevant signal is received. When they are in the stead state [holding a package through magnetic force], they only consume a tiny trickle to maintain it,” he said. 

The Michigan-based drone company recently received a federal trademark for what it is calling the ProDropper. The systems are designed for various sized platforms. The smaller system is aimed at dropping small medical packs, communications devices and other emergency aid. The larger options are made to drop Red Cross style individual emergency packs or 72-hour survival packs. 

Compared to other package delivery systems mounted on drones, the ProDropper has no moving parts to jam or fail. “It has a snag-free deployment route,” Ramsey said, “and it consumes barely any power in flight compared to servo-based systems.” The payload can be fit onto most platforms and is powered through a vacant radio plug-in. The units are also weatherproof. 

DSUSA has also developed its own UAV platform. When combined with its own autonomous software, the system can speed up cargo/parcel delivery in emergency situations even to multiple people or places in the same voyage, Ramsey said. 

Since announcing the receipt of its trademark designation earlier this year, DSUSA has recently earned a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration section 333 commercial exemption. The company also said it has commenced talks with the Alaska UAS test center to perform research in the future. 

To view a video of Ramsey demonstrating the system, click here.