As NASA says, the number of drones in the sky is growing every day — so, a backup plan for what happens when drones go awry — get lost or somehow coast into a no-fly zone — are becoming more and more necessary as UAVs go even more mainstream. In light of this (as well as recent drone crashes at the White House and Seattle's Great Ferris Wheel), NASA has developed a bonafide virtual leash — a device that lets users set parameters that stop their drone from crossing them and making the UAV in question kamikaze when it does.

Named "Safeguard," the contingency contraption comes in the form of a box that drone owners can attach to their UAVs via plug-in. As the drone is in the air, the device constantly checks to see that it stays within the predetermined perimeter. 

While the most common form of containing drones within their zones is with geofencing, a GPS-driven method that links up to a UAV's autopilot to keep the aircraft where it's supposed to be, Safeguard uses "rigorous mathematics and works independently of the onboard autopilot," as reported by Popular Science. While this wording doesn't exactly give a step-by-step as to how the device works, it still acts as the ultimate (or last-ditch) safety net if geofencing fails.

Check out the virtual leash in action in the video below.

 

Via: Popular Science

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