Innovation That Matters

Drone recharging | Photo source Pixabay

New system can recharge drones in mid-flight

Agriculture & Energy

A startup has developed a wireless charging device to allow drones to have unlimited flight time.

The number of drones is seeing an exponential growth. According to research firm Gartner, the unmanned aerial vehicle market is set to be worth more than 11 billion USD by 2020. At Springwise, we have already seen several innovative new uses for drones, including drone coffee delivery and a drone that captures other drones. One limitation with drones, however, has always been the relatively short flying time between charges. Now, a new startup Global Energy Transmission (GET) hopes to resolve this with a system that can recharge drones mid flight.

The GET system consists of a hexagonal frame of wires strung between poles. The wires create an inductive charging field that can charge the drones’ batteries in mid-air. Additionally, with induction charging, an induction coil (a type of electrical transformer that produces high-voltage pulses from a low-voltage power source) creates an alternating electromagnetic field. A second coil in the drone then takes power from the electromagnetic field and converts it back into electric current to charge the battery.

In the GET system, multiple drones can charge simultaneously; and the system is portable enough to be moved where needed. It takes around six minutes to give a charge that will allow about 25 minutes of flight time. Moreover, the company envisions setting up cell tower-like charging loops to allow drones to fly continuously over large areas. The system could be used to allow delivery drones to operate over longer distances; surveillance drones could stay up indefinitely, and construction drones can operate for longer periods.




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