With Amazon, UPS and now DHL all declaring that they'll be sending bladed, autonomous delivery-bots to your doorstep in the next few years, you might think that we're all about to experience a bit of an upswing in broken goods. After all, drone delivery might be super quick, but that doesn't mean that your stuff (or even the drones themselves) will survive the trip.
A new fail-safe algorithm, developed by Mark Mueller at Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich, allows for damaged or malfunctioning quadrotors to not immediately plow into the ground. Depending upon the severity of damage done, a drone utilizing the algorithm (which is just a firmware upgrade) would be capable of keeping itself aloft or executing a safe emergency landing.
Drones carrying precious cargo will likely need this sort of fail-safe technology if they're to be used on the regular basis that so many of the largest shipping companies have promised. Damaged drones could then maintain flight well enough to keep themselves from colliding with pedestrians or dunking themselves into your swimming pool. Clearly, in the drone-delivery days to come, that would be a win for everyone.