More Time in the Air for Drones with Wireless Charging

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The drone industry is all set to expand its wings beyond warfare. There are many startups which have taken up the noble mission to provide interesting twists to UAVs so that these can be of real help to mankind. A small startup based at Newfoundland, Canada is working on a major issue that could surely have tremendous impact on the future of drone industry.

When it comes to practicality and efficacy of drone system, battery life remains a key issue. At present the drone needs to be landed at frequent intervals for battery swapping before it takes the next flight. Otherwise it needs physical contact charge. This process comes in the way of efficient drone operation, more so if it is on an emergency mission.

The Canadian startup is working on this particular problem in partnership with Boeing. They aim at recharging unmanned aerial vehicles wirelessly with the help of energy transmitters. These transmitters will be capable of communicating across distances with receivers fitted on drones thereby assisting in wireless charging. This would help the gadget remain in air for longer periods of time.

Solace power has developed this technology based on “RC2 resonant capacitive coupling“. Nikola Tesla first used resonances in his experiments related to inductive power transmission more than hundred years ago.

Now deriving inspiration from this type of wireless charging technology, Solace Power has come up with drone recharging system which allows greater flexibility in deciding size and shape of the receiver that draws power. Then the system guarantees greater freedom when it comes to aligning the transmitter and receiver for adequate power transmission from point A to point B.

The drone recharging technology developed by Solace Power can help bring down overall inactive time for fleets. It could prove to be particularly helpful for industrial, commercial and agricultural applications, since the fleet can include brief runs over charging surfaces into their flight plans so as to keep them airborne for longer period. Another alternative would be to develop charging elements directly into surfaces over which drones work regularly. Warehouses or fixed factory sites can fit in this scheme.

A recently released video by the company shows the drone charging pad in action. It is fitted with a green LED which informs when the drone starts charging its battery. No special orientation is needed. The drone just has to remain above the panel. Further announcement has come up from the company’s end that the venture will receive investment support from Industry Canada.

It is an official government investing body which provides funding assistance through Boeing. They do have an ultimate motive that this technology will help fulfill Canada’s military procurement needs. Solace Power has already grabbed licenses for this technology to be used across various industries related to powering electrical vehicles and battery-powered equipments that are worn as part of soldier’s kit. It can be also used to power ring motors or dynamos usually used to construct robots, security cameras and helicopters.

Till now battery life remains the only hurdle in the way of successful autonomous drone deployment. Now it is to be seen if Solace Power in conjunction with Boeing can indeed bring a revolutionary change to the drone recharging scenario.

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