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Automated Remote Charging for Your Flying Drones (Video) 30

Posted by Roblimo
from the aerial-drones-as-automated-traffic-law-enforcers-are-(sadly)-inevitable dept.
The Skysense website says, 'Save time and manage your drone operations remotely: whenever the batteries run out, land on a Skysense Charging Pad and take off as soon as the batteries are recharged. Without ever leaving the office.' That certainly sounds convenient. Since it looks like everybody and her dog is jumping on the flying drone bandwagon, the next step is obviously charging the things without human intervention. We're talking about battery-powered ones, of course, like the multicopter drones that are starting to be used for things like pipeline inspection, mapmaking, and security alarm response. Sadly, using drones for beer delivery is currently against the law in the USA, as are the Burrito Bomber and the much-ballyhooed Amazon Prime Air drone delivery system. All this may change in the next few years as the FAA figures out how to regulate the many commercial drones that will inevitably be zipping through our skies, landing on pads to recharge themselves, and continuing their missions without human intervention. The next step in drone automation will probably be using driverless ground vehicles as drone launching and control stations. Shockingly, there aren't a dozen Kickstarter projects raising money to build automated ground support systems for automated flying drones already, but surely they'll show up before long. (Alternate Video Link)

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Automated Remote Charging for Your Flying Drones (Video)

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  • by Neil_Brown (1568845) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @03:53PM (#47327985) Homepage
    Just wondering.
  • by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @03:55PM (#47327997)
    I think you could do this same buisness with low tech. Just have a spot where worker scans a barcode on the drone, replaces the battery, and then checks a box on web form. Sort of a drone gass station.
    • Now that I think about it. You could crowd source this. You could give people a phone app. They could list their inventory of batteries, service hours and gps for landing spot. Prices would be set similer to those cab fair applications. They could scan the old drone with phone. Scan old battery. Scan new battery. Then place the drone in a takeoff spot. Then click finish on the app. The drones would then fly away.
      • by Hadlock (143607)

        Distributed drone delivery and refueling? Bit torrent for packages! Genius! Cut the US Postal service out of the snail mail business completely using technology in e-space and meat-space.

        • What about Bittorrent for Bittorrent? Never underestimate the bandwidth of a drone full of Micro SD cards hurtling above the cityscape. Bonus: no wiretapping.
    • I think you could do this same buisness with low tech. Just have a spot where worker scans a barcode on the drone, replaces the battery, and then checks a box on web form. Sort of a drone gass station.

      Yea, but then they have to pay a human to work there, which, from what I gleaned off TFS, defeats the purpose.

      • I suppose that is true if your trying to replace humans doing deliveries. Then it would not make a ton of sense unless the station stayed busy.
        • Were I a bettin' man, I'd put my money on the notion that they're trying to get away from having to pay anybody other than suppliers and shareholders.

          • lol I don't think Amazon pays a dividend. So you can remove shareholders from the list.
            • So, that makes suppliers and... executive level management?

              Yea, that's a sustainable business model. /sarc

            • by ScentCone (795499)

              lol I don't think Amazon pays a dividend. So you can remove shareholders from the list.

              Shareholders also get paid by watching their shares become more valuable over time. They can sell them down the road, as they see fit. I don't get any Starbucks dividends, either - but what I own there is worth about 1000% more than when I bought. At some point, I'll cash it out, pay the long term capital gains taxes, and get one big ol' dividend for having owned a sliver of the company along the way. I don't feel the least bit troubled by the lack of a dividend in that stock.

              • Sure but you buying or selling shares does not effect their balance sheet. Your not an expense. You don't show up on the books the way salary does. On the flip side, you are not paying Amazon money when their shares go down over time.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      ...and continuing their missions without human intervention. The next step in drone automation will probably be using driverless ground vehicles as drone launching and control stations.

      In the 21st Century, when a new enterprise is created, making everything as automated as possible is the goal. The less people the better.

      Jeff Bezos did it quick with Amazon. It has been estimated that to generate as much business as Amazon does with Mom&Pop businesses would require about one million people at various levels: handlers, stockers, bookkeepers, managers, accountants, IT people, etc ....

      Amazon does it all with less than 30,000.

      How Technology is destroying Jobs. [technologyreview.com]

      Now, I am NOT suggesting

  • DIY drone people have been playing around with this idea for a while. A neighbor of mine was playing with it over a year ago but lost interest. inductive charging for model quad-copters. Seems like Skysense is the first group to put it into practice with some $$$ behind it though.

  • .. to perch on power lines.

    • Actually, the US military has already been playing with drones like this that use inductive latch hooks to recharge off the local grid.
  • "Sadly, using drones for beer delivery is currently against the law in the USA" Perhaps someone can direct me to that law. The courts recently ruled that the FAA did not currently have the authority to ban commercial use of drones and fine those who flaunted the unlawful FAA rule.
  • I thought they meant WIRELESS automated remote charging. Like as in a laser or microwave beam transmitting power to a drone to keep it flying indefinitely.

    I was wondering how much power it would require to keep a relatively small drone (but still capable of carrying a decent camera and transmitter) aloft. Of course the drone would have to be equipped with some sort of receiver capable of converting the beamed energy (visible light? IR? microwave?) into electricity. By "power" I'm referring to the power o

  • A while back, I was thinking about how to to make an ultra-long range drone. Like something I could send off on a mission, and expect it to come back on it's own later on. One of the ideas, if it were battery powered, was to instruct it to land on or near power lines. That would have been a nightmare to figure out though.

    To be stealthy, it would need to fly around 5K to 10K feet. It wouldn't be able to approach ground level, except in uninhabited areas. There's no way you'd get a map of all the

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