Cycle 2 – Keeping drones in the air for longer

One of the biggest problems facing drone technology today is the limited amount of power they are able to store. Due to their limited energy storage they can only stay in the air for short periods of time and then must land to be charged. New ways of receiving and storing power are being developed in hopes that flight time will increase and drones will be able to work without frequent breaks.

Quite a few methods of receiving and storing power are being developed including solar power, charging tethers, and hydrogen powered drones but the most convenient for the popular quad-copter drones is wireless charging. A drone could incorporate multiple charging stations into its route so it can work nonstop and will charge whenever it passes over a charger. A vehicle with a charging station can also accompany surveillance and reconnaissance drones where landing to charge would not be an option.

Other charging methods are better suited to service other types of drones. Glider drones like Facebook’s Aquila drone are meant to stay in the air for a long time and have a large surface area making solar power an effective charging method. Charging tethers for airship style drones have been patented by Boeing. Hydrogen powered drones can fly for several hours due to their power storage being much lighter than conventional batteries thus reducing the weight of the drone.

Video of wireless charging station prototype:


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