Energy consumption is one of the most important challenges facing UAVs. Usually, UAVs are battery powered; the batteries are used for UAV hovering, wireless communications, data processing and image analysis. In some SAR operations, UAVs need to be operated for extended periods of time over disaster stricken regions. Due to high battery consumption, average flight time for existing drones is only 20-30 minutes, and current UAS do not charge autonomously. Longer flight times are necessary to withstand increasing payloads and provide accurate real-time data and image analysis.
Researchers at the University of Alabama have developed a fully autonomous drone designed to charge wirelessly with three unique charging methods. This invention allows drones to fly so long as the vehicle can either return to a stationary base station, attach directly to a power line, or charge in-flight using ambient electromagnetic energy. The autonomous drone has multiple charging schemes, and it may be used over a wide variety of applications with relatively low cost.
- Frequency multiplexing.
- Amplifier with low energy consumption.
- Polarization diversity – multi-angle coils increases magnetic coupling and electromagnetic induction.
- UAS tackles multiple power lines by adjusting roll, pitch, and yaw to accommodate varying magnetic field directions.
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