One year ago battery pioneer, Storedot, achieved a world first with its partner BP by ultra-fast charging (UFC) a two-wheeled electric vehicle in just 5 minutes, reports suasnews.com. This week the award-winning, Israeli-based battery and materials innovation leader, has achieved the accolade of UFC a commercial drone in five minutes, making continuous, fully-autonomous drone operation a reality.
Usually, it takes between 60 to 90 minutes to fully charge a commercial drone, giving a flight time of just over 30 minutes. As a result, drones spend far longer in the charging station than in operation. To resolve this difficulty, additional batteries must be purchased and swapped out between flights. This process is not only costly, but also requires a ‘man-in-the-loop’ to replace the batteries, which ultimately negates one of the main benefits of drone use – autonomous operation.
The need for a person to be involved in the process also limits the drone range of operation, as the operator is restricted to locating charging stations at sites that are easily that are easily accessible to humans. This means the craft currently have to spend much of their limited flight time travelling to and from the nearest charging point, greatly reducing their operational efficiency. It also restricts the use of drones in harsh or dangerous terrains, often where they could bring the greatest benefits.
Dr. Doron Myersdorf, CEO of StoreDot comments, “The launch of a UFC solution for drones changes the industry. By reducing battery charging to just 5 minutes – which is up to 18 times faster than existing drone batteries – and eliminating the need for human intervention, operators have more freedom over where they can site charging stations. As a result, continuous, fully-autonomous drone operation is a reality.”
He continued, “Drones can now spend more of their flight time engaged in actual missions as well as greatly extending their range, rather than having to return to base to have their battery swapped out. At the same time, UFC will also enable drone users to expand their operations into regions they could not previously access, making the business case for drone deployment much more attractive.”
Sample cells are now available to drone manufacturers for testing, with full commercialisation expected towards the end of this year.
“In situations where cutting response times is critical and where organisations must commit to reduce their carbon footprint, the use of drones can play a crucial role in helping to establish a competitive advantage,” continued Dr. Myersdorf. “Up to now many commercial drone ventures have been held back due to their business model. Yet, UFC technology can not only improve and extend their existing operations, but make the companies more profitable.”
He added, “We believe this technology can also open the door for new companies and extend their service offering, making drones a more attractive proposition as a revenue stream.”
Alongside its collaboration with strategic partners BP, Daimler, TDK and EVE Energy, the company is now on track to achieve its next electric vehicle milestone by the end of 2021 – a five-minute charge of a four-wheeled passenger vehicle.
Replacing known materials and processes with enhanced electro-chemical properties, StoreDot’s proprietary compounds, combined with nano-materials, are optimised for ultra-fast charging of electric vehicles, mobile phone power banks and commercial drones.
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