Israeli fast charging company StoreDot has tackled a major issue for the commercial drone industry – announcing a drone battery charging system that brings the charging time down to 5 minutes. “UFC overcomes two of the major barriers that have prevented the drone industry from realizing its full potential – the need for a “man-in-the-loop” to replace battery packs between missions and restrictions on where charging stations can be located,” says a StoreDot press release.
Drone battery endurance is a major problem for the industry. Most commercial drones carrying a payload have a flight time of only about a half hour – but it can take 60 – 90 minutes to charge the drone battery. “As a result, drones spend far longer in the charging station that in operation – an unacceptable level of downtime for any application,” says StoreDot. Most commercial drone operators carry multiple batteries to deal with the problem – an expensive and heavy solution.
Five minute drone battery charging changes the operational process for commercial drones: and for autonomous drone solutions, the benefits may be even greater.
Dr. Doron Myersdorf, CEO of StoreDot comments: “The launch of a UFC solution for drones changes the game. By reducing battery charging time to just 5 minutes – which is up to 18 times faster than existing drone batteries – and eliminating the need for human intervention, drone operators have far greater freedom about where they can site charging stations. As a result, continuous, fully-autonomous drone operation is finally being made a reality.
“Drones will now be able to spend much more of their valuable flight time engaged in actual missions, greatly extending their range, rather than having to return to base to have their battery swapped out. At the same time, UFC will also enable drone users to expand their operations into regions they could not previously access. Both of these factors will significantly increase operational efficiencies and profitability, making the business case for drone use much more attractive than ever before,” he adds.
StoreDot says that their FlashBattery technology “drastically reduces drone charging times with very little tradeoff in terms of energy density, meaning that flight time is only slightly reduced.” Perhaps most importantly, the ultra fast charging system is offered at a competitive price point. ” Sample cells are now available to drone manufacturers for testing, with full commercialization expected end of this year,” says the company.
“In applications where cutting response times is critical, and where organizations must also demonstrate a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint, the use of drones can play a crucial role in helping to establish a competitive advantage,” Dr. Myersdorf explains. “However, commercial drone ventures haven’t really taken off up until now as they haven’t yet delivered an economical business model. For these types of companies, UFC technology can hugely improve and extend their existing operations and make them much more profitable. We believe this technology can also open the door for new players to enter this space and extend their service offering, making drones a more attractive proposition as a new revenue stream.”
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