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The next phase of drone deployment that will support longer flights and heavier payloads will need improved power solutions. Drone endurance has become a major challenge. A new startup has developed autonomous battery exchange stations for commercial drones.
Keith Miao, CEO and Co-Founder of Birdstop, a drone startup, told dronelife.com: “As the commercial drone industry expands, long range and long duration operations will become more commonplace. BVLOS operations are being tested and approved around the world.
However, most multi-rotor drones only achieve 20-30 minutes of battery life. This places a large limitation on the efficacy of unmanned aerial operations.”
The solution is the deployment of a network of Birdstop stations that will automate battery management and allow drones to fly indefinitely with minimal downtime.
Using a computer vision, a drone lands on the Birdstop station. The used battery is extracted and placed into charging mode inside the station. A fresh battery is inserted into the drone and powered on, so that the drone can takes off and continue on its mission.
The technology is tested in various use cases. In agriculture, long endurance is required for drones in order to perform real-time monitoring of crops, fields, and livestock.
In the security field, drones can supply a 24/7 bird’s-eye view of installations, but battery life is often described as a key limitation.
Hazmat is a developing business area for Birdstop. Critical missions are slowed or humans are put at risk because drone batteries need to be exchanged manually many times during an operation, according to the company website. Their network of stations can help solve these problems.