Flying Drones Could Recharge Wirelessly in Mid-Air

Flying Drones Could Recharge Wirelessly in Mid-Air image
November 9, 2016 | Source: Imperial College London, Colin Smith

Scientists have demonstrated a highly efficient method for wirelessly transferring power to a drone while it is flying.

The breakthrough could in theory allow flying drones to stay airborne indefinitely by simply hovering over a ground support vehicle to recharge opening up new potential industrial applications.

The technology uses inductive coupling, a concept initially demonstrated by inventor Nikola Tesla over 100 years ago. Two copper coils are tuned into one another, using electronics, which enables the wireless exchange of power at a certain frequency. Scientists have been experimenting with this technology for decades, but have not been able to wirelessly power flying technology.

Now, scientists from Imperial College London have removed the battery from an off-the-shelf mini-drone and demonstrated that they can wirelessly transfer power to it via inductive coupling. They believe their demonstration is the first to show how this wireless charging method can be efficiently done with a flying object like a drone, potentially paving the way for wider use of the technology.