Drone is becoming an integral part in our life. It can do a lot of stuff, and will do more when drones are equipped with artificial intelligence. But we still have one problem to tackle about drone and that is its short battery life. Here are 6 known ways to power your drone.
Most of the drones we see are powered by Lithium-Polymer battery which only powers drone for about 20 minutes, depending on your load. Using this battery means your drone will have to come down and replace the battery or recharge battery quite often. LiPos work on the principle of intercalation and de-intercalation of lithium-ions from a positive electrode material and a negative electrode material, with the liquid electrolyte providing a conductive medium. To prevent the electrodes from touching each other directly, a microporous separator is in between which allows only the ions and not the electrode particles to migrate from one side to another.
- Solar Power
Drones powered with solar power usually have solar cells attached on its wings. They utilize solar power to fly when the sun is up while simultaneously storing power to the battery for flying when there is no sun in the sky, more like a backup power. This power source is ideal if your drone is meant to stay on the air indefinitely. The most recent breakthrough is an 81 hours flight by Atlantik Solar!
- Hydro Fuel Cell
Intelligent Energy has been researching and developing a hydrogen fuel cell for use in the aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics and distributed power & generation markets. Last March, they successfully demonstrated their hydrogen-powered drone. This fuel cell can take your drone for a spin for about two hours while traditional Li-Po battery can only last for about 20 minutes. They also claim that the refueling process is done almost instantly while Li-Po battery takes a relatively long time to bring itself to full charge.
- Combustion Engine
Yeair! started a kickstarter project for their drone powered by combustion engine. The drone is capable to stay for about an hour in the air with max speed 100km/h. It maybe a bit louder than your average drone with two-stroke 10cc gasoline engines and quite dangerous because the drone flies with a full tank of flammable gas but still, combustion engine offer more power than the usual Li-Po Batteries and it may come in handy for a power user.
A drone that fly with a cable tethered to a power supply is capable of stay in the air “forever”. The electricity will always be provided to the drone because it always connected to a power supply, it also makes transmitting data faster and safer from drone to your computer. The drawback is that your drone won’t be able to fly to far due to the cable. Some drone services tethered the drone to a power supply in a moving vehicle while maintaining the drone on follow-me mode so that the drone can cover more grounds.
- Laser Transmitter
Lasermotive introduced a technology called The Power Link. The power link uses power beaming to send a beam of light from a ground station to a receiver on a UAV, where the light is converted into electricity to power the UAV. With this technology, drones won’t have to come down at all because whenever they ran out of batteries, they can just fly to the power link range and recharge the power.
Although we’ve seen most of this tech, we’ve yet seen how the hydrogen fuel cell and laser transmitter can contribute on our search for a better power source on bigger things. So that’s the 6 kinds of drones power sources. Share with us on the comment section about your thought on the lists or perhaps you have something to add on the lists.
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