In-flight charging gives drones unlimited autonomous range
Global Energy Transmission (GET) has pioneered a mid-air inductive recharging system that can charge up several drones at once without requiring them to land. Build enough of these stations, and you can have an army of drones in the air that never need to land.
While companies like BShark explore alternative fuel sources like hydrogen to deliver long-endurance drone flight, GET is concentrating on topping up batteries mid-air.
The GET system appears simple enough: a hexagonal frame of wires on poles roughly 10 m (32 ft) in diameter that looks like a partially constructed gazebo frame. But when an appropriately set up drone flies into it, this frame can transmit up to 12 kilowatts of power at efficiencies around 80 percent – enough to give about 25 minutes' worth of endurance from a six-minute stop.
Multiple drones can charge inside the perimeter together if necessary, and the system is reasonably portable, so it can be set up and moved as required.
GET's vision for long-range autonomous drone missions is to have these charging loops set up several miles from one another, allowing a drone – or a number of drones – to constantly surveil an area, stopping to quickly recharge without needing a human to change a battery, and flying off to the next stop once the battery's full.
Autonomous drone armies that never sleep. What could possibly go wrong?
The system is demonstrated in the video below.