Battery capacity and weight has always been the problem for operating longer drone flights. That could soon be a thing of the past. There is a tech company that has the solution for longer, even indefinite UAV flights with a remote charging system.
A wireless power application is being marketed for mobile electronic equipment like smartphones, pads and other wireless devices for businesses by the Richmond based company – Ossia. It distributes electricity like WI-FI signals through a patented transmitter – Cota Real Wireless Power. An RF smart antenna automatically, without any user action, keeps connected devices charged. This provides constant in-coming power flow for connected devices to operate.
Ossia expects soon to adapt Cota to remotely power drones, which will extend flights for UAV missions far beyond what current batteries provide.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cleared this technology as safe and efficient, but is limiting it’s use between the antenna and the device for now to just 1 meter. However, the European Union and the UK regulators have given Ossia’s Cota powered units approval for operation at unlimited distances. The different rulings will not affect deployment. Ossia’s current application transmits wireless power at low levels in all directions approximately 10 meters. But they expect to break the distance limits to virtually any range by 2023. That is the mark when Cota could start supplying power for drone missions.
Cota provides continuous energy supplies to linked objects. To do that in a zone of operation, Cota bounces power off reflective objects until direct connection is restored. Unlike WI-FI which requires an unbroken connection to a connected device.
Ossia says that compared to batteries the receptors for the electricity are small, which in a UAV application would be replaced by direct energy. This would certainly mean longer missions and possibly indefinite flights by remote power. Without the need for batteries, increased payloads will be possible.
Induction or other wireless charging systems for continuous drone operations have been tried but proven flawed because they require the drone to stop operations and get to a station long enough to repower. Ossia says as they develop this technology Cota will bypass this step by remotely supplying continuous power. We wonder if this will lead to upgraded Heavy Duty drones for continuous operations.
The potential for this technology is exciting. Ossia says the initial use will be valuable for drone missions to provide continuous surveillance of storage, logistical, sensitive or vulnerable sites.