Bird-Like Drones Battery Charge
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, more popularly called UAVs, are increasingly becoming the favored option for a number of functions right from military surveillance work to taking wedding pictures! However, the one drawback of using these drones is the limited time they can stay airborne. UAVs generally cannot stay in flight for more than ten to thirty minutes, depending on the strength of their batteries. After this, they need to be recharged before they can be airborne again. This is a huge problem because it gives the drone a serious handicap and limits the number of things it can do.
Fortunately, when there is a problem, a few people love to take up the challenge and look for ways to resolve it. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are now working on designing drones that are capable of recharging themselves by sitting on an electric wire! So like a bird, this drone will perch itself onto a power line when its battery is getting low and it will be able to use the emitted magnetic fields to recharge its batteries. However, there is a lot of research and technological advancement which will be necessary for this to become feasible. Fixed winged models of drones are usually a lot faster and more energy efficient as compared to multi-rotor UAVs, but the fixed wing models have trouble perching onto power lines.
Testing the possibilities with Miniature Glider
The MIT team studied a number of birds in order to try and understand the way they balance and realized that they use their tails in combination with their wings and adjust the orientation of their body accordingly in order to be able to perch on the wire. Based on this information, they worked on designing a computer model that would help UAVs do the same with the help of cameras and sensors. Till date, they have managed to build a miniature glider that can hook itself onto a string that is adjacent to a power line. There’s no doubt, one step at a time is the way to go.