Asylon‘s DroneHome is quite literally a black box solution. The sleek hardware is about the size of a small coffee table. Plugged in to a power source at the show but designed to be portable when necessary, DroneHome is based on a simple idea: getting a machine to change your batteries for you.
While the idea is simple, the execution appears to be an engineering marvel. The box holds a bank of batteries (the hardware demonstrated was for a DJI professional drone, but the system is drone agnostic.) As the battery life gets low, the drone interrupts its flight plan to land gently on the box. A robotic arm removes the spent battery and inserts a fresh one, sending the drone back on it’s way in under 3 minutes.
For commercial applications that depend upon constant or near constant flight on a pre-set path, like security or monitoring, the DroneHome is a perfect solution. When attached to a power source, the DroneHome can fully charge the first battery before the last is spent; allowing almost constant flight. The smooth integration with flight planning software means that the drone performs the function autonomously.
Company CEO Damon Henry says that while DroneHome’s early adopters are in the security vertical, the system adapts easily to commercial purposes in the geospatial field – even when BVLOS flight becomes a reality. “We welcome shifts in regulation like BVLOS flight,” says Henry. “You can daisy chain the swap stations to cover long distances – it will really open up applications.”
The solution also provides asset management reporting for an enterprise drone program, providing a dashboard giving information about the battery inventory and health so that fleet managers can track assets and predict battery life.
The price difference between battery powered drones and those powered by alternative fuels makes batteries the preferred power source for most enterprise applications – the DroneHome swap station may provide the best of both technologies for customers.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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