US military wants to build autonomous drone charging system

US military wants to build autonomous drone charging system

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“Imagine in the future, the military deploying a swarm of hundreds or thousands of unmanned aerial systems,” said Dr. Mike Kweon, program director of the research lab’s multi-purpose tactical power and propulsion research program. of the Army. A press release. “Each of these systems only have about 26 minutes with current battery technologies to complete a flight mission and return home before losing the battery, which means all could potentially come back at the same time to have their batteries replaced. . “

Without the charging stations, soldiers would need to carry thousands of batteries on a mission, which is really not a viable option. Using a self-contained charging system would also mean soldiers wouldn’t have to replace batteries manually, freeing them up for other tasks.

Army-funded researchers will also develop mini fuel level sensors for bigger drones. This would allow future drones that could run partially on gasoline to detect when they are running out of fuel, according to DroneDJ. The devices could then return to the base to refuel or recharge before they run out of juice.

“This research is essential not only for air vehicles, but also for ground vehicles, especially for military missions,” Kweon said. “The fuel sensor tells the operator what type of fuel is being delivered from the fuel tank to the engine. This input signal can be used to intelligently instruct the engine to adjust the engine control parameters according to the fuel type to prevent failure. This data can also be used to find original failures in the event of premature failure of an engine component. “

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