Flying Robot Safety Rules

Note: Make sure to review the General Usage Guidelines, particularly for information about responding to injuries and emergencies.

I) New projects

  • Any vehicles must be approved by the Lab manager before they can be operated in the CfA Robotics Labs.
  • Pilots can fly their drones only after passing the flight test of the lab training session.
  • All vehicles operated at CfA must have a printed preflight checklist, a fail-safe setup and a kill-switch setup that are approved by the CfA lab manager. Non-flying vehicles (ground autonomous vehicles or equipment, for example) must provide equally safe and preventive check lists.
    • Preflight check: a check list of states of your robot system before you should arm and operate the robot.
    • Fail-safe setup: when the vehicle loses connection to the controller, the vehicle should stop moving.
    • Kill-switch: when the kill-switch is engaged, the vehicle should be disarmed and all moving parts should stop.
  • No carbon-fiber or metal prop-vehicles larger than 5 inches can be operated inside CfA. Large spinning carbon-fiber or metal propellers are extremely dangerous, and the benefit of using them is minimum inside CfA flying arena.

II) Flying robot operation

  • General guidelines
    • When flying drones that have larger-than-5-inch propellers or are powered by 3S LiPo or more powerful batteries, safety glasses must be worn and safety gloves must be worn when handling the drone. CfA has provided safety glasses and safety gloves at the entrance of the flying arena. Please restore the safety equipment after usage.
    • Drones that weigh more than 250g or have larger-than-5-inch propellers must only be armed inside the netted area.
    • When flying a vehicle tethered to the ground using a safety cable provided by CfA, no more than 3 people can be inside the netting arena simultaneously. When flying a free vehicle, no one can be inside the netting arena; everyone should be outside the netting arena before the vehicle can take off.
    • When using a small carbon-fiber or metal-prop vehicles, all operators must be outside the netting area and wear safety glasses.
  • During operation:
    • Use extra caution when performing a maiden flight/experiment
    • Drones must not be flown closer than 2m to any Vicon camera.
    • When operating your robots inside CfA, be alert and clear. You should:
      • stand at least five feet away from vehicle, behind the netting
      • everyone must be mentally alert
      • before making any move, communicate with others loud and deliberate
      • Before arming, the pilot must shout it out: “Arming!”
      • Before taking off, the pilot must shout it out: “Taking off”
      • To land the vehicle, the pilot must shout it out: “Landing”
      • Only after disarming a landed vehicle, the pilot must shout it out: “Disarmed”
      • Disconnect the main battery to your vehicle as soon as you can after the vehicle is landed.
  • Crashes:
    • Use extra caution to recover a crash
    • When retrieving a crashed UAV or other possibly damaged equipment or autonomous vehicle, safety glasses and safety gloves must be worn and proper shoes and attire must be worn. If uncertain of the safety of the operation to be undertaken, you must notify the CfA Lab Manager or other senior CSL official and obtain permission before proceeding.
    • When retrieving a landed carbon-fiber or metal-prop vehicle inside the netting area, protection gloves must be used. In general, use extra caution for dealing with carbon-fiber or metal-prop vehicles.

Thank You For Keeping You and Your Group Safe!