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UC Found Drone Charging Technology In The Air

Researchers at UC Berkeley's High-Performance Robotics Laboratory (HiPeRLab) have demonstrated an aerial charging technology concept that could allow multi-rotor drones to be recharged in the air to double their battery life.

The research team has used an innovative way to increase the endurance of multi-rotor drones - using aerial battery switching.

main aircraft

Two drones were used in the experiment, a main aircraft, and a small quadrotor drone with a battery carrying the battery that powers the main aircraft.

Shown here is a graph of the flight time of a battery powered multirotor as we add more batteries.

We see that there is a fundamental upper limit on flight time relative to the battery we add. When the battery is at two-thirds full mass, and we normalize the flight time against this upper limit, our main quadcopter is operating at this point, and the corresponding flight time is 12 minutes and weighs 0.82 kg at this point. Using this graph it follows that the main quadcopter has a maximum flyable time of 26 minutes, which would make the mass 1.89kg, which would make the aircraft heavier and increase safety risks.

The docking mechanism is a mechanical guiding structure in the form of a docking platform, mounted on the main quadcopter, and the docking legs are connected to the small quadcopter.


Battery switch circuit diagram