We were saddened to learn that an injury accident caused by XAG Plant Protection UAS occurred in Baoying County, Jiangsu Province, China. The injury old lady was sent to hospital immediately and is currently out of danger. Our hearts are with the old lady and her family who have been affected by this accident.
Safety is always the core for every decision we make, the grievous accident that involving an XAG UAS is difficult for all of us. Since last Saturday (2019/6/29), XAG has quickly set up a response team to provide necessary assistance and establish the facts. These will help prevent similar accident from happening in the future.
After our investigation and verification from the local police, we have more information about the accident. Here are some facts we have learned:
· After onsite investigation and analysing the flight logs on XCloud, we can now confirm that the UAS involved is an standard edition XAG P30 2019 Plant Protection UAS. In the moments before the collision, which occurred at 7:38 a.m. on Saturday, 29 Jun, the UAS was at 6m/s ground speed and 1.5m above ground level. And the data shows that the front millimetre-wave radar had normal readings on sensing obstacles, however, the obstacle avoidance function was deliberately disabled by the operator prior to takeoff.
· The operator merged two independent operation fields into one piece out of convenience, which included the field ridge in between. The operator neglected to observe the safety situation within the operation area, and did not clear the fields before takeoff, further resulting in the collision right on the field ridge.
· According to our internal investigation, the UAS was purchased in April 2019. From the date of purchase to the date that the accident occurred, the operator has not obtained the XAG Plant Protection UAS Operator Certificate and did not participate in any XAG authorised training programme. At the time of the accident, the operator deliberately used another person’s account to operate his own UAS, seriously violating XAG's Safety Operation Standard.
· After the accident, the operator proactively co-operated with police investigation and is willing to take all corresponding responsibilities.
Even though the UAS is installed with the most advanced obstacle avoidance system, the in-field operational safety still highly depends on maintenance of equipment and operator’s behaviour. Not only on UASs, but also on autonomous vehicles or commercial airliners, the "Autopilot" function is an addition to safety, operators are always required to remain alert and be responsible for their vehicles.
It is important to note that legal compliance and safe operation are key to UAS society. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), an agricultural UAS operator in China MUST register, attending professional training provided by manufacturer, and obtaining the operator’s certificate.
Safety is always XAG's top priority. As our products continues to serve tens of thousands hectares of farmland around the world every day, we are constantly improving our UAS management system and training programme, in order to reduce all kinds of risks and prevent the recurrence of such accidents.
We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the lady and her family again.
The XAG Team
6 July 2019