In a recent article, we talked about the possibility of recharging drones via laser beams. This rather grand idea makes it possible to prevent drones from landing to refuel. A very glaring problem drones face right now – both recreational and those with serious jobs in businesses – is that they have limited battery lives. The battery determines how long a drone can stay up in the air. A drone’s battery also sets the limit on how far a drone can go from its origin before going back to refuel.
Businesses especially feel the tight grip of this limitation. For civilian drones, recharging is as simple as stopping the flight and landing. For businesses, many of which use drones to do monitoring and maintenance work, they do not have such luxury of time. Time spent recharging is time wasted on the field. Oil pipelines and land surveyors tend to use drones to watch over their perimeter. This means one drone going from Point A to Point B and watching from above. Most of the time, however, the distance between those two points are exceedingly long. Too long for one flight and one battery supply. As a result, recharging stations are needed within the area. Recharging takes time, and this may not be the most efficient way of dealing with the problem.
The Hycopter and the future of Batteries:
A solution suggested by Singapore-based robotics company H3 Dynamics may be a start. Their idea is for drones to abandon the commonly used batteries for something better. What they offer as a solution is a clean energy source: hydrogen fuel cells.
Their featured drone, the Hycopter boasts the technology’s capabilities. It is the first of its kind; the very first drone in the world to have hydrogen fuel cells. The Hycopter can fly up to four hours without landing for a recharge. Best part? The four hour flight time even includes cargo (up to 1 kilogram) transporting.
Another feature of this unique drone is its design. The frame is larger than your everyday drone. The frame itself features slender beams that connect the four rotors on each side. This gives the Hycopter a very slim look. The drone is not at all bulky, leaving little space for what used to be storage for the battery packs. In exchange for these batteries, the Hycopter has two vertical tubes that store the hydrogen fuel cells.
With hours of flight time and a shorter recharge time, this drone can be the endurance machine companies have been waiting for. It can finish its routines without distractions like recharging; efficiency at its finest.