Drones that charge on power lines may not be the best idea

Battery life has long been a major limiting factor use it. While there are commercial models that can stay in the air for 45 minutes or more on a single charge, being able to keep drones in the air for longer would be useful for many purposes. Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark have been working on this issue for several years, creating drones that can charge directly from power lines.

This time, the scientists attached a holding system to the Tarot 650 Sport drone, which they matched with an electric quadcopter propulsion system, an autopilot module, and other components. When the drone’s systems detect a low battery, the device uses a camera and millimeter-wave radar system to locate the nearest power line. notes.

The drone then flies down to the power line, using a pair of inward-curved arms to direct the cable to the holder. An inductive charger draws current from a power line. When the battery is full, the holder opens and the drone continues on its way.

Initially, the idea is for drones that inspect power lines to use this charging system. Researchers A self-charging drone in 2022 that recharges its battery from power lines. This time, they improved the gripper system and demonstrated a real-world use case for the technology.

In The team, who will present at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation next month, described the project as “to our knowledge, the first system in the world capable of continuing operation for multiple check/fill cycles.” equipped with power harvesting from power lines in a real outdoor environment.” In arguably the most successful test, the drone stayed in the air for more than two hours during five cycles of power line checking and charging.

There were drones monitor and inspect power lines. They are especially useful in remote areas, such as mountaintops, where manual inspection of power lines is a challenge. Still, it’s hard not to be a little worried about drones sticking to power lines. If something goes wrong and one drone damages a power line, the entire region can lose power. Drone charging pads are available and may be a safer option, but they require additional infrastructure space.

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