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MARS – An Automated Parachute System When Your Drone Fails

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Below is our recent interview with Brian Colvin, Chief Revenue Officer at MARS Parachutes:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to MARS Parachutes?

A: MARS Parachutes started in 2013 by principals Glen Rineer and Kevin Kropp, with the addition of Brian Colvin in 2019. MARS has become one of the leading innovators of drone parachute systems, both in the United States and globally, and generated total revenues of over $1,000,000 since its inception.

Today, MARS has the ability and machinery to produce almost all of its own parachutes and safety products in-house, start to finish. In addition, MARS presently has 3 Patents Pending related to parachute design and manufacturing with several more in the works.

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Q: I read something about your recent partnership with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, how did that start and where you see the relationship going?

A: We are excited to announce our newest partnership with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS). We met the NIAS Team at the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas, November 2019 to discuss and coordinate ASTM Compliance Testing for our M200 PRO unmanned systems aircraft. Through discussions over the holiday season, we developed a plan to expand our relationship. Realizing all the synergies our businesses have together made it easy to see how powerful our partnership can be. MARS was already looking to expand into Nevada from Anaheim for multiple reasons, including its recent #2 industry ranking for the second year in a row. Most importantly, the state of Nevada is forward-thinking in its approach to business development, eager to support growth in the UAV market, and the general ease of operations for businesses.

When I saw all that NIAS is bringing to the growth of the UAV Market, I knew MARS had to be a part of the team. We joined the Nevada-Global Drone Trade Alliance (NV-GDTA) to expand our existing global sales. We then looked at all the areas we could expand business together. We outlined a plan to expand our footprint into Nevada through the NIAS business incubator program, and a consortium that supports the NIAS workforce development program: ARISE – Attaining Resilience through Support and Education. ARISE was recently awarded a grant through the Google Impact Challenge Nevada to train underrepresented young adults on the use of UAVs and provide a new resiliency perspective to equip them with the skills they need to succeed in life and the complex field of autonomous systems. Ultimately, the program prepares them to begin work in the UAV industry after completing the program (which includes on-the-job training and mentorship) and obtaining their FAA Part 107 Commercial sUAS Pilot certification.

Because NIAS and NV-GDTA are non-profit organizations, MARS looked at ways to give back to the relationship and help foster the growth of their organizations. MARS is contributing equipment (a drone safety net system, runway and vertical takeoff and landing – VTOL – pads) for the Henderson Unmanned Vehicle Range (HUVR) Test Site, at the Nevada State College in Henderson, Nevada. Furthermore, MARS is looking to establish a manufacturing capability through NIAS’ ARISE Resilience and Innovation Laboratory (ARIL) by investing in Graphic Engines, Software, 3D Printers, Vertical Mills, and Injection Molding Machines and bringing them to the state. These tools will be equipped over time on a scaled implementation model to run MARS Business Projects and train ARISE candidates on-the-job, equipping them with high-level skills that are well recognized and bring great value to the autonomous systems workforce.

All of this is in line with the MARS Growth Plan for Domestic, and International Development of the UAV market. Thanks to the strength of our relationship with our Partners and the NIAS team, we are taking our place as the Global Standard in Drone Safety.

Q: What types of products do you provide to your customers?

A: We provide a full line of Drone Parachute Safety Systems customized and scalable for each specific drone and Payload Protection Requirement. We also provide full-service, engineering, design, prototyping, machining, testing, certification, and full-production manufacturing of products from multiple industries from aerospace to medical.

Q: Why is now the time for a technology solution like MARS Parachutes?

A: In 2016, the FAA tasked the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) with building the standards for Over Human Flight. ASTM completed the F3322-18 Compliance Standards that year, and the FAA began requiring the FAA Event Waiver for Commercial use of drones in Over Human Flight application. In short, Business Integrators are finding and designing commercial applications of drones from surveillance to drone delivery services. These uses are minimizing human injury, lowering carbon footprint, and increasing business return on investment.

The next 10 years will look very different from today. Just as the fax, PC, and cell phones have changed the world, the UAV industry is going to completely automate multiple areas of our lives worldwide. The UAV industry will exceed $2.5 Billion as an industry by 2023. We are the standard in the industry. The time to act is now, and the MARS team is focused on staying three steps ahead of the industry to bring innovation for the future.

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Q: What we can look forward to seeing from MARS Parachutes next?

A: We have begun expanding our footprint into Nevada earlier this month. Just after the CES Expo, we finalized our partnership agreement with NIAS in January 2020. This will launch four key components for our growth:

1.ASTM Standards Testing and Certification of MARS’ on-board parachute recovery system under the NIAS Node Aviation Management System (N2AMS);

2.Sponsorship for NV-GDTA Commercial UAV Seminar and Technology Demonstration Event at HUVR, March 17-19, 2020; and in-kind sponsorship of Drone Safety Net, Runway and VTOLs at Henderson Unmanned Vehicle Range (HUVR);

3.Partnership in NIAS Workforce Development Program(s) and in-kind sponsorship of machining and manufacturing equipment to NIAS’ ARIL with NIAS referral fee-for-service model to offset capital investment costs and sustainment plan; and

4.Establishing a formal physical subsidiary in Nevada, initially through the NIAS EXCEL ONE Business Incubation/Acceleration Model to be rolled out in a phased, scalable model over the next 18 months.

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